London [UK], Sep. 3 : The United States and China, the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, on Saturday announced they will formally ratify the Paris climate change agreement.
Speaking on the eve of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, US President Barack Obama confirmed the long-awaited move, reports the Guardian.
"Just as I believe the Paris agreement will ultimately prove to be a turning point for our planet, I believe that history will judge today's efforts as pivotal," said Obama.
On the eve of the G20 summit in China, world leaders prepare to discuss climate change, Hinkley Point and the war in Syria.
"Where there is a will and there is a vision and where countries like China and the United States are prepared to show leadership and to lead by example, it is possible for us to create a world that is more secure, more prosperous and more free than the one that was left for us," added Obama, for whom the commitment is part of a final push to secure a green legacy for his presidency.
Earlier China had announced it would formally ratify the Paris accord with President Xi Jinping vowing to "unwaveringly pursue sustainable development".
"Our response to climate change bears on the future of our people and the well-being of mankind," said Xi.
Obama said the joint announcement showed how the world's two largest economies were capable of coming together to fight climate change.
"Despite our differences on other issues we hope that our willingness to work together on this issue will inspire greater ambition and greater action around the world," he said.
If the Paris agreement comes into force this year, it means the nearly 200 governments party to it will become obliged to meet emissions-cutting pledges made before the deal last December.
The Paris agreement, sealed last December, must be ratified by 55 countries, representing 55 percent of global emissions, in order to come into force.
Before Saturday, only 24 countries, responsible for about one percent of global emissions, had ratified the agreement, while 180 countries had signed it.