The Paris climate change agreement that was completed last December, with nearly 200 countries participating, had requirements under which it would be ratified. A minimum of 55 countries responsible for more than 55% of global greenhouse emissions had to formally adopt it; when that number is reached, it would then take effect in 30 days.
Nations were slowly working toward that signatory goal by getting their governments to support the ratification. Suddenly on Wednesday, the European Union moved up its vote and approved the measure. Given the number of countries the EU represents, this brought the total to 73, well beyond the 55 needed.
Thus the first really effective measure to limit global temperature rise will be in effect before the U.S. election on November 8th. It will be much more difficult for the U.S. not to live up to its agreement once it is in effect.
Why the stepped up pace and the connection with our election? Donald Trump has vowed to "tear up" the Paris agreement, and he trashes China as the big offender. So maybe the EU wanted to get this done before he could possibly do that.
It's true that China, along with the U.S., are the two biggest contributors toward human-caused temperature increase. It's also true that the U.S. and China have been cooperating on preliminary steps, and it was this progress that largely led to convening the Paris Climate Change meeting in the first place. China has in many ways become the leader in production and utilization of renewable energy equipment and production. Both China and the U.S. signed the accord in September.
For global climate change to become politicized would be a tragedy that we probably can't survive. It requires cooperation from nations that are enemies in other respects. President Obama understands this; our next president must continue this attitude and work. Donald Trump will not. Hillary Clinton will.