On Friday April 22, 2016, President Peter M. Christian participated in the High-level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. During the Ceremony, President Christian joined representatives from 174 other countries in signing the Agreement, marking the largest number of countries ever to sign an international instrument in a single day. The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted the Agreement in Paris last December. The Agreement is the first universally applicable international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Agreement commits all of its Parties to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Agreement also provides for enhancing the ability of all countries—particularly developing countries—to deal with the impacts of climate change, including loss and damage. To achieve these goals, the Agreement provides for climate financing, a new technology framework to support research and development in climate technology, a new capacity building framework to enhance the capability of developing countries to take effective climate change action, and a robust transparency framework to ensure that Parties properly and fully account for the actions they take under the Agreement. The Agreement will enter into force after at least 55 Parties representing at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions ratify the Agreement.
After the signing, President Christian delivered a statement that noted the historic milestone achieved by the international community with the adoption of the Agreement in Paris last year, while underscoring that the true test of the success of the Agreement lies in its implementation, particularly at the domestic level. President Christian called on all Parties to the Agreement to continuously update our emission reduction targets in order to "achieve nationally beyond what we talk about internationally." President Christian committed the FSM to take concrete actions in furtherance of its targets, including continuing the FSM's leadership role in advocating for the phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol. HFCs are greenhouse gases that are several orders of magnitude more potent than carbon dioxide, and whose phase-out will greatly aid in the fight against climate change.
President Christian concluded his statement with a plea to the international community to live up to pledges made in connection with the Agreement. Calling for international solidarity, President Christian expressed his hope that ours is "the generation of world leaders that not only talked about climate change, but walked the deck of a sinking ship to find and plug the holes to save our ship."
Prior to participating in the High-level Signature Ceremony, President Christian visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site in downtown Manhattan, where he laid a wreath in remembrance of the victims of the September 11 attacks.
President Christian was accompanied to the High-level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement and to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum by First Lady Maurina Christian, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert, Secretary of Justice Joses Gallen, Governor of Chuuk State Johnson Elimo, President Christian's Chief of Staff Leo Falcam, Jr., Ambassador Jane J. Chigiyal, and members of the staff of the Permanent Mission of the Federated States of Micronesia to the United Nations.