Paris Accords: A Game Changer?

Climate change, today, is the most endangering problem that humanity faces today. Some estimates suggest that by the current rate of emission of Green House Gases, the average earth temperature will rise by 4 degrees if we continue emitting Green House Gases at the current rate. These changes will manifest into changing climate across the earth, reducing the fertility of the soil and oceans and threatening the very extinction of human species.

To solve any problem, the first step is to acknowledge its existence, the second step is to understand the problem and devise actions for mitigation. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC] was humanity’s first collective step with an objective to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

Scientists have concluded that the earth has a natural greenhouse effect that helps in maintaining an average temperature of 14C; without which the average surface temperature would round up at -19C.

Since the age of industrialization, human activity around the globe in the name of development has amounted to an unnatural increase in the greenhouse gases leading to anthropogenic climate change. In 1988, United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] in association with World Meteorological Organization [WMO] created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] to evaluate the scientific knowledge on global warming. IPCC came out with its first report in 1990, which formed the foundation for the international convention for climate change: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC] at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.  The convention’s principle ideology is “common but differentiated responsibilities” which formed the basis of a number of climate negotiations, which have been instrumental in furnishing global participation.

Kyoto Protocol: Features and Failures

Parties to UNFCCC adopted the Kyoto Protocol [KP] at its third conference in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. While the Convention merely urged the member states to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions [GHG], the Kyoto Protocol committed them to do the same primarily by developed countries. However, KP has been unable to yield the desired results. The causes that have led to the downfall of KP can be summarized into three main categories:

  1. Ratification by the US
    Although the Kyoto protocol came into force in 2005 after being ratified by 127 countries the biggest historical polluter, United States, never ratified the agreement citing the Byrd-Hagel resolution. This excludes actions.
  1. Enforcement and Compliance
    1. Monitoring: This largely depends on self-reported information by each nation whose credibility is debatable.
    2. Enforcement: There is no real enforcement mechanism because of lack of power for sanction of coercion.
  2. Absence of binding Targets for Developing countries
    In absence of binding targets, some developing countries increased their emission manifold. This phenomenon has been cited as the major reason for some developed countries like the US for non-compliance.

Even though the net result flowing from KP is not ideal, yet it helped in making the foundation for future legally binding multilateral agreements.Paris Accords

Paris Accords

The 21st Conference of Parties to UNFCCC came out with a new international agreement on climate change, with universal application, to keep the emissions well below 2OC.

The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The parties also agreed to net zero emissions by 2070 by striking a balance between anthropogenic emissions and removals by sinks of GHG. The agreement included a review mechanism (applicable to 187 countries) which entailed a stock-take every five years to keep GHG emission below 2 degree Celsius.

Following is the detailed analysis of key elements of Paris Agreement:

rencontre en ligne film vf Paris Agreement lionel kw hookup Kyoto Protocol
http://aquanetta.pl/?kostromesp=opcje-binarne-najprostszy&a47=b3 Reduction Targets Non-Binding [For all Nations] Binding [Developed Nations only]

Non-Binding[Developing Nations]

sistema de citas web ebais Finance Binding [Developed Nations];

No Specific Number

Non-Binding
hook up epson projector to mac Technology Transfer Non-Binding Non-Binding
http://www.negocioseninternetrentables.com/flomance/4202 Review & Monitoring INDC’s Binding on all Nations Binding [Developed Nations only]

Non-Binding[Developing Nations]

http://heartpearls.com/?mistyu=los-chicos-del-maiz-5-online&5a3=a0 Reduction Targets:

The Paris Agreement does not impose any legally required emission cuts on the parties but instead has induced participation by parties in form of Pledges, which are to be reviewed every five years. The pledges forwarded by some of the parties are bedded in the respective country’s analysis of what is technologically, economically and politically feasible. Paris Agreement is implausible to force sovereign states in to do something as part of the deal by sanction mechanism. It depends on voluntary participation by member states to do something as part of the deal.

www zoomtrader com Finance:

To bring down GHG emissions, it is imperative for states to adopt eco-friendly strategies, which require technology transformation, and thus more capital. The Paris Agreement requires developed countries to provide financial aid to developing countries but does not make a specific contribution legally binding. The developed nations have set a non-binding limit to raise $100 billion annually by 2020.

https://bristolquakers.org.uk/drova/1095 Loss & Damage:

The developing nations have urged developed nations to provide financial aid in order to facilitate combating mechanisms to address global warming. Conveniently opposed by the US, the agreement does not provide any foundation for a framework for liability or compensation.

partnersuche bad wildungen Technology Transfer:

Developed nations need to export technology to developing nations as part of going green. The agreement does not make it a mandatory provision rather urges the parties to do so.

INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions):

The INDC’s are the international agreements in which the countries are intended to record their post-2020 climate actions. These act as a benchmark to determine the long-term goals of Paris Agreement. Although INDC’s have to be mandatorily put together by parties subject to review every five years yet the national targets in these INDC has not been given any legal binding status.

Shortfalls

Legislative Framework

While most of the countries of the world came to the consensus on the existence of climate change problems and the disastrous changes it would, in turn, lead to, the agreement is a little lax. It tells about the mitigation but does not tell about how the mitigation should be carried out and leaves it up to the individual capacities of the countries. The gap between commitment and the actual actions taken by the country cannot be measured. The actions taken by the country are voluntary and the terms of the agreement are unenforceable.

Obscure Technology

Most of the world’s global energy requirements are still met through fossil fuels and the expected breakthrough in technology is moving at a snail’s pace. The cuts in the emissions or the technology breakthroughs are subject to every country, which depends upon its development and the state of its economy. The goal of controlling the global rise in temperatures to below two degrees Celsius looks a little farfetched as the technologies are either non-existent or are the ones that are unproven and non-commercialized. This means magically eradicating emissions through emission reduction technologies, at the same time bringing out some new technologies that depend on renewables sources of the Earth to meet the energy demand.

Missing Numerical Targets

The quantum of emissions allowed per country in a specific time period has not been estimated. Carbon budgets, which mean are an estimation of the amount of greenhouse gases that can be released into the environment have not been calculated. These could have set the targets clearly that needed to be achieved. Unfortunately, carbon budgets have not been taken into account. The countries for once might be successful in reducing the emissions through some ways, however, the required target will not be met.

Cost

Even if all the countries stick to the plan and be successful in fulfilling all the promises the estimation of UN climate prediction model says that the global temperatures will be reduced only .3 degree Fahrenheit. This is not only very small but the yearly cost to the world will be $1-3 trillion a year. The new technology to address climate change incurs huge investments.

Moreover, as the climate change occurs, who would pay for the damage to life, property and occupational practices of people like farmers or fishermen who rely on predictable seasons and ocean currents.

Climate Finance

Climate finance is the provision of funds to developing countries so that they transition into more sustainable economies. In this, funds are given from the developed countries to the developing countries.

Is it a turning point?

Yes, It is turning point No, It is still toothless

INDCs agreed at Paris will lead to the rise in temperature by 3.5 as against 4.5 in case nothing is done. With the market mechanism and more ambitious INDCs the rise can even be arrested to 1.8 C

Bjorn Logborn in his peer-reviewed article claimed that the current measures implemented under Paris accord will only create a difference of 0.05 degree C if continued for 70 years

Paris agreement will send out clear signals to corporate to invest in low-carbon solutions in order to develop and scale up clean technologies. The global effort has already led to a reduction in the cost of energy produced by solar & wind energy. The success of the system depends on the goodwill of national leaders and its political institutions, which can change over time.

There are no numerical targets and no mechanisms to ensure accountability

Activation of Paris deal took less than 1 year after a required number of countries ratified the deal, which reflects the seriousness of countries going ahead. Earlier accord took years to be ratified. Reduction in the agreement is not legally binding. The only tool for compliance is naming and shaming that country.
Also, there is no carbon tax and lacks any mechanism to incentivize the individual user to switch to cleaner technology.
Codifying of INDC in common format will ensure transparency. Paris agreement did not provide any specificity on legal structure for global cooperation
For the first time in history, almost all the countries unilaterally signed a universal pact. Expected results are based on “not yet available” revolutionary technology.

Conclusion

Different response by each country
Countries like the European Union and India are genuinely implementing the schemes to achieve their targets. However, there are other sets of countries like Russia and Iran, who are just fiddling around with half-hearted attempts. We have also identified those countries like South Africa, which are doing inadequate efforts with respect to implementing their own INDCs. However, some countries such as the USA despite being one of the biggest polluters as well inefficient producer of energy, have already backed out of the Paris accord. As Obama said, “No nation, not even one as powerful as ours, can solve this on its own – we have to do this together”. “Even if we meet every target, we will only get to a part of where we need to go. However, this will help delay or avoid the worst consequences of climate change. It’ll help set bolder targets.

Responses by business and corporates
With respect to the effect of Paris Agreement on global corporates, some corporates have indulged in lobbying to limit the effect of regulation in order to save their company’s interest i.e. profits while other companies such as Microsoft and Google have been adopting different methodologies to align their organizations with the principles of Paris Agreement.

Technology Transfer and Financial Aid from Annex-2 countries

Technology is crucial to the challenge of preventing dangerous climate change. Further use of obscure technology makes it more challenging and these require a huge investment. Developing countries would need help from developed nations or technologically ahead countries. Even though it is non-binding for developed countries, the success will depend on how collaboratively countries work to mitigate emission.

Developed countries also have a bad record of accomplishment in disbursing the financial aid they have committed in various conferences. Even the financial aid they did disburse, the large sum disguised as foreign aid funding. The Paris accord will not be successful until an enhanced transparent mechanism is not established as per Article 13 of Paris Agreement.

Diplomatic triumph or Business as usual?

Even though Paris accord was ratified within 1 year by most of the countries, many of the countries are yet to formulate implementation mechanisms. For those countries who have created mechanism will need time for performance assessment. Based on our study, it should be a turning point if we consider the number of countries participating and being aware of climate situation but it has not yet proved to be the turning point if we consider the work done to mitigate climate changes. In conclusion, we can say, Paris Accord was surely a diplomatic triumph in getting acceptance universally but it seems to be largely business as usual, as far as the real battle against climate change is concerned.

References

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2012/11/18/new-report-examines-risks-of-degree-hotter-world-by-end-of-century

http://ghginstitute.org/2010/02/10/the-treaty-compliance-challenge-enforcement-under-the-kyoto-protocol/

https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Newsarticle/Why_the_Kyoto_agreement_failed/1253963392536

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/2009Q1/111/ATMS111%20Presentations/Folder%201/ChavezM.pdf

http://www.alligator.org/opinion/article_20d566b6-4a41-11e7-89dc-a3ec9a3368d9.html

https://www.climateinteractive.org/blog/press-release-with-an-ambitious-review-cycle-offers-to-paris-climate-talks-could-limit-warming-below-2c/

http://www.lomborg.com/press-release-research-reveals-negligible-impact-of-paris-climate-promises

http://www.eco-business.com/news/paris-agreement-marks-turning-point-in-history/

http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/skeptical-note-paris-climate-deal

http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/southafrica.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/05/obama-paris-climate-deal-ratification

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/feb/20/climate-funds-developing-nations

http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1617/AustralianAidProgram

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