France's Hollande says Paris climate agreement far from implemented

August 30, 2016 6:36 AM EDT

French President Francois Hollande addresses French ambassadors during a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Mori/Pool

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PARIS (Reuters) - An international agreement on climate change struck in Paris last year is still far from being implemented, French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday, and he urged countries to ensure it was ratified by year-end.

The agreement obligates states to take concrete measures to curb emissions that contribute to climate change. It takes effect once at least 55 nations accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions ratify it. Only 23 countries, accounting for 1.08 percent of emissions, have done so.

"The immediate urgency is to ensure the (climate agreement) is put into action by year-end. That's far from being achieved. I ask you to double your efforts to push countries where you reside to ratify the accord before Marrakesh," Hollande said, referring to the next round of U.N. climate talks in November.

Global temperatures reached record highs for the 15th straight month in July, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States reported. July was also the hottest month since global record began in 1880, NOAA said.

The new United Nations Environment chief, Erik Solheim, said it was good that France was urging people to sign the agreement. At a news conference in Geneva, though, he said he was more optimistic about the rate of ratifications.

"The United States and China have said they would do it this year and I visited Brasilia a couple of weeks back, and the Brazilians made it absolutely clear that they would, even in the midst of this big, big crisis in the land, they would sign off to Paris in September.

"So at the end of the year you will see a completely different pattern when it comes to signing the Paris agreement."

The United States and China, whose pledges created the momentum for a rare global commitment in Paris, are widely expected to join the accord before a G20 meeting in China this weekend.

(Reporting By John Irish, additonal reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva and Alister Doyle in Oslo; Editing by Andrew Callus, Larry King)

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