United Naions
United NaionsWikimedia Commons

With 170 countries expected to ink a deal on the Paris climate agreement at the end of the day on Friday, a record will be set for the highest number of signatures received by delegates for a new international treaty, reported the BBC. The process of signing is underway at United Nations headquarters in New York.

"Paris will shape the lives of all future generations a profound way -- it is their future that is at stake," Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the UN, said speaking at the opening ceremony. "Today we are signing a new covenant for the future," he added.

Ten nations, particularly the small island states which are at the forefront of experiencing the wrath of climate change with raising water levels, ratified the agreement in a preemptive move. But the success of the agreement will depend on a dozen other countries taking this second step (of ratifying), after today's signing.

"Most countries, though not all, need to take the signed document and go back home and go to ratification procedures that in most countries requires parliamentary discussion and decision," said Christiana Figueres, chief of UN Climate, explaining what now needed to be done.

China and the U.S., in a formal display of commitments, are expected to sign and confirm from the podium at the UN that they will ratify and accede to the Paris agreement this year. As the top two emitters of green house gases in the world, their assents are crucial for the success of the agreement.

The UN secretary general said that as the world marked the 46th Earth Day on Friday, the planet was experiencing a record temperature. He emphasised: "We are in a race against time I urge all countries to join the agreement at the national level."