Why The Paris Climate Agreement Won`t Work

An August 2019 poll showed that 71% of American voters want the federal government to be able to do more to combat climate change. A similar majority believe that this will have a positive impact on the economy and employment. When Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, the world reacted with outrage. And it is right that this agreement represents a remarkable achievement in international diplomacy – a breakthrough after 20 years of failed climate negotiations. But as we gather to defend the Paris Agreement against the onslaught of an ill-informed tyrant, we must resist the temptation to call the agreement a saviour. That is not the case. Its purpose is just and noble, but its substance is nothing short of dangerous. As bleak as these warnings are, it is important not to get too tangled up, to think about the specific shortcomings of the Paris agreement or to do better with another form of international agreement. The fact is that any international agreement (especially a voluntary agreement like Paris) is more a reflection of the will of the state than an engine. An international treaty can identify and formalize what nations are prepared to do, facilitate their coordination, but it cannot create national political will where there is none.

The UN report warns that the terrible effects of climate change will come sooner than expected. This is why we need to follow the report`s advice and why every tonne of emissions reduction can make a difference. Collapse occurs when the inability of major economies to achieve their goals is met by increasing criticism and other countries make minimal commitments or slow down their own goals, leading to a ”low-level balance” in which NDPs remain static or progress only gradually. Or countries could start withdrawing their NDCs and presenting less ambitious countries. The Paris Agreement is generally regarded by scientists as a single ratchet that allows only increases in NDCs, but without a mechanism to enforce this standard, it can only apply as long as a large country needs it to violate it. The president`s promise to renegotiate the international climate agreement has always been a smokescreen, the oil industry has a red phone at the Home Office, and will Trump bring food trucks to Old Faithful? ”I think it`s easier to talk rhetorically about the importance of climate change than to do the hard work to put in place the legal framework that actually guarantees pollution reduction,” says Pam Kiely, senior director of regulatory strategy at EDF. In 2015, UNITED Nations leaders called the $100 billion a year ”peanuts” and said that ”the $100 billion is the tail that shakes the dog.” In 2015, the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund said that the estimated funding needs would increase to $450 billion a year after 2020.

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