Experts are encouraging the global clothing industry to engage with the new Paris climate change deal

Experts are encouraging the global clothing industry to engage with the new Paris climate change deal

The European Parliament has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, in a move that clears the last hurdle for the pact to enter into force.

The agreement was struck last December at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (or COP 21), and has been signed by nearly 200 countries. 

It calls on all nations to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and ideally to try to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

To reach this goal and help developing countries switch from fossil fuels to greener sources of energy, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, with the developing world providing US$100bn per year by 2020. 

The EU ratification means 62 parties have now agreed the pact, crossing the key threshold that required at least 55 parties, representing at least 55% of global emissions, to ratify it. Under the UN's rules the agreement will now enter into force in 30 days.

The European Commission has already brought forward the legislative proposals to deliver on the EU's commitment to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

The global clothing industry has already been encouraged to engage with the new Paris Agreement, warning that a warming planet imperils not only the raw materials the industry needs but also poses a threat to the sector's prevailing business model.

Jonathan Porritt, founder of the Forum for the Future, a non-profit organisation focused on sustainability, is sceptical about the final results, however. Despite the commitment to limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C by 2050, he expects that by the end of the century the average temperature will have risen by 3.7°C, making most talks about ecological sustainability "purely academic".

What the Paris climate deal means for clothing