The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement also known as the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) was ratified in December 2015. The treaty was signed after six years of negotiation, and the 196 countries that ratified the agreement did so under immense international pressure. One of the milestones set in the agreement is curbing global warming below 2 percent based on the pre-industrial averages. The second milestone in the treaty is attaining net-zero emission of greenhouse gases in the next 50 years, and member countries should aim at producing their maximum emission as soon as possible. Member countries were required to implement measures to curb emission based on international standards. The treaty also required parties to revise programs meant to lower greenhouse emissions every five years. Lastly, the agreement called for cooperation among member countries in lowering, mitigating and sharing the cost in the form of emission trading or result-based payments (Climate Focus, 2015). This paper argues that the Paris Agreement will not succeed in mitigating carbon emissions this century.
The Paris Agreement Will Not Succeed In Mitigating Carbon Emissions This Century
One of the main reasons the Paris Agreement will not succeed is financial problems that are likely to arise. It has been noted that financial issues is the main reason that treaties on climate change signed under the UNFCCC are not successful. Financial support that will be availed by developed countries will definitely assist developing countries in implementing green policies (Fan, 2016). However, implementing the agreement is likely to be face the challenge of respecting the rights of developing countries to pursue economic development, while maintaining the liability industrialized nations have in supporting them financially. The agreement stipulates the terms for support, funding period, funding process and funding ratio. In short, the agreement stipulates that developed nations should continue to provide financial support to developing countries, and developed countries should continue to spearhead the mobilization of resources to curb climate change (Fan, 2016).
Developing countries are required to implement green policies through local legislation. Experts have observed that the above provisions are more likely to complicate the financial issues in the UNFCCC further. The GCF (Green Climate Fund) was established to fund developing countries and assist them in innovation and technological transfer from 2020 (Fan, 2016).
The second reason the Paris Agreement is likely to fail is that the legally binding clause in the agreement was deleted. The U.S. supported the deletion of the legally binding clauses. The resulting agreement lacked legally binding expressions such as “developed nations SHALL provide financial resources” (Fan, 2016). Moreover, quantitative climate change millstones were removed. Member countries adopted the climate change without quantitative targets for fear of isolating the U.S. Some pundits have argued that doing away with the binding clause reduces the likelihood of member countries adopting the agreement, and distorts the nature of the agreement (Fan, 2016).
On the contrary, the proponents of the agreement have argued that omitting the legally binding clause will make it easier for members willing to contribute more towards the reduction in mission of greenhouses gases to do so without the fear of legal obligations. Proponents consider the agreement as the stepping-stone of the long journey in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. According to proponents, the transparency clause in the agreement will ensure that member countries disclose the measures they have implemented to deal with climate change from 2020 (Fan, 2016).
Leaders from the 20 most developed countries have already increased the funds to be invested in clean energy and carbon technology, and this has led to the doubling of the research done in these fields. Furthermore, 120 countries belonging to the International Solar Alliance have already given 100 billion U.S dollar to be invested in renewable energy (Fan, 2016). Developing countries through the African Renewable Energy Initiative have also commenced the process of constructing 300 GW of renewable energy that will have mobilized 10 billion dollars by 2020. Private companies have not been left behind in lowering the emission of greenhouse gases. Some of the companies that have pledged their support include Google, Marks & Spencer, and Unilever (Fan, 2016).
Insurance companies have contributed $100 billion to be invested in resilience and smarter risks projects. Chief executive officers from 30 business sectors in 65 countries have pledged to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 93.6 million metric tons. In addition, 75 CEO presiding over companies with a net worth of 2 trillion dollars have become members of the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders (Fan, 2016).
The provisions of the Paris agreement looks promising, and encourages cooperation from a variety of stakeholders in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. The agreement has increased funding, and encouraged active participation from developing countries. However, the financial issues and the removal of the binding clause is likely to make the agreement less effective. Financial issues are more likely to arise from the failure on the part of some developed countries in meeting their obligations. Moreover, the requirement that the implementation of green policies should be done at the local level is also likely to lead to misuse of resources in developing nations. Lack of a binding clause means that some developed nations may abandon their responsibilities.
Climate Focus. (2015, December). The Paris Agreement: Summary. Retrieved from http://www.climatefocus.com/sites/default/files/20151228%20COP%2021%20briefing%20FIN.pdf
Fan, C. T. (2016, March 3). Will the Paris Agreement provide positive or negative outcomes for developing countries? Retrieved from https://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/cca/Will_Paris_Agreement_produce_good_or_bad_consequences(Final).pdf