The US commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as signed off at the COP22 seems to be dependent on the recently invested president of the country.
Should we, in all humility, remind that on 5 October 2016, the minimum required for this agreement were effectively reached and these now are up and running as of November 4th, 2016. The ensuing conference (COP22) in Marrakesh consecrated that.
The Paris Agreement brought for the first time all nations representatives to sit together in a single hall and agree on a course of actions on a global climate effort. Is this now in jeopardy?
This article of the Brookings PLANETPOLICY published on February 24th, 2017, of which excerpts are reproduced here, does help to enlighten us on the possible and as put by a US media on the “potentially deep fissures developing in the international consensus” with far reaching outcomes due basically to such lack of commitment on the rest of the world and to the detriment of all.
The Trump administration might think that the United States can’t afford to maintain our pledged contribution to climate aid, but what we really can’t afford is to walk back on that commitment. The real costs of retreating from the Paris climate treaty—the geopolitical, humanitarian, and domestic economic costs—far outweigh the relatively small amount of aid that the U.S. has previously agreed to contribute.
To renege on our commitments to climate finance made in support of the Paris Agreement would weaken America’s ability to muster enthusiastic support on important international policies we might care about. Flash forward a year, when the U.S. administration is attempting to lead on a policy it cares about, and requires some willing allies for a coalition to put boots on the ground, or wants votes in the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. Which countries will be there when we need them?
If we stop or sharply reduce our funding to the world’s most vulnerable and poor nations as they struggle to cope with rising intensity of heat waves, sea level rise, strengthened hurricanes, and crop-withering droughts, we will be party to a preventable humanitarian crisis. The poorest nations were scarcely responsible for creating the problem of climate change, and they are ill prepared to handle the consequences. To be isolationist and shortsighted on the question of climate change will bring blowback beyond what we can afford. Adhering to the Paris Agreement and meeting our climate finance pledges will in the end be far cheaper.
WHAT AMERICA PROMISED IN PARIS
Many governments are watching closely to see if the new administration in Washington will choose to remain a party to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Already, some foreign negotiators have said that, if President Donald Trump refuses to play fair on climate change, they similarly won’t cooperate on other global issues, like trade and security. The deal struck in Paris was a delicate one, but in the end nearly every nation on Earth agreed that it was in their interest to be part of a collective effort to avoid the most dangerous impacts of heating the planet with unrestrained fossil fuel consumption. The innovation of Paris was that the whole agreement is built on voluntary national pledges, called “nationally-determined contributions.” The only binding part of the entire package is that actions toward meeting those pledges must be reported transparently back to the U.N. agency that coordinates the process, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Paris Agreement also calls for five-year reviews of progress toward its ultimate goal of keeping average global warming below 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C).
Early in the Paris text, there is some language that “[s]upport shall be provided to developing country Parties” by developed countries to help reduce their emissions and cope with the impacts of climate change with finance that is adequate to those needs. The agreement reaffirms an earlier collective pledge from the developed nations to jointly provide $100 billion a year in grants, loans, and investments in developing countries, from public and private sources.
The authors are : Timmons Roberts, Nonresident Senior Fellow – Global Economy and Development; timmonsroberts and Caroline Jones, Researcher – Climate and Development Lab, Brown University