President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping of China and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon exchange greetings at the conclusion of a climate event at West Lake State House in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 3.Official White House Photo / Pete Souza
The two countries are the first major emitters to join the climate pact, bringing the total number of nations to 26 comprising 39 percent of global emissions. For the agreement to enter into force, 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions must join.
At the end of the summit, G20 leaders committed to ratifying the agreement and said they "welcome efforts to allow its entry into force by the end of 2016."
Joining the Paris agreement is President Obama's latest step toward cementing his climate legacy and ensuring that the U.S. remains a global leader on the issue.
It's official: the US has joined the #ParisAgreement https://t.co/qYN1iRzSJk— Brian Deese NARA (@Brian Deese NARA)1472912853.0
"Nearly two years ago, the United States and China stood shoulder to shoulder to proclaim their commitment to solving climate change, kickstarting the process that culminated in a worldwide climate agreement in Paris," Ken Berlin, president & CEO of The Climate Reality Project, said.
"Now, the world's two largest emitters and two largest economies have taken the next step by formally joining the Paris Agreement. This continued cooperation and leadership on the eve of the gathering of the G20 sets a bold precedent for the rest of the world's major economies to follow and highlights the interrelationship between expanding economic prosperity and solving the climate crisis.
"Now it's time for the rest of the world to follow the U.S. and China, formally accept the Paris Agreement, and get to the hard work of implementing and increasing their commitments to solving climate change."
For a deeper dive:
News: Guardian, Reuters, Washington Post, AP, New York Times, Politico Pro, LA Times, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Politico, IB Times, The Hill, BBC, Indian Express, InsideClimate News, The Hindu, Christian Science Monitor, Climate Home
Commentary: AP, Seth Borenstein & Josh Lederman analysis; Independent editorial; ThinkProgress, Gwynne Taraska & Andrew Light op-ed; Guardian, Fiona Harvey analysis; Climate Home, Shelagh Whitley op-ed