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Australia ratifies greenhouse gas targets agreed on in Paris

Associated Press Associated Press 10/11/2016 By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia on Thursday ratified its greenhouse gas emission targets agreed upon last year at the U.N. climate meeting in Paris.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull told Parliament that Australia had become the 140th country to ratify the agreement signed by 196 nations in New York in April, following the December meeting in Paris. The pact commits countries to work toward limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and set five-yearly targets for cutting emissions.

The countries that have ratified the deal include the United States and represent 70 percent of the world's emissions and three-quarters of global GDP.

"Almost a year from the Paris conference, it is clear the agreement was a watershed, a turning point and the adoption of a comprehensive strategy has galvanized the international community and spurred on global action," Turnbull told reporters.

He said Australia was on track to beat its 2020 targets.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg will next week join the U.N. climate change talks underway in Morocco.

The election of Donald Trump, who has called global warming a "hoax," is alarming environmentalists and climate scientists and raising questions about whether America, once again, would pull out of an international climate deal.

Australia became the only industrialized nation to follow the U.S. in refusing to ratify the previous climate deal, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Turnbull ruled out Australian pulling out.

"When Australia makes a commitment to a global agreement, we follow through and that is exactly what we are doing," he said.

Ratification confirms Australia's target to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The government said its target was comparable with other advanced economies and on a per capita basis was one of the most ambitious targets in the G-20 group of countries.

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