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Loopholes In The Paris Agreement

dimanche, septembre 26, 2021

Those who have contributed and are contributing to anthropogenic climate change have also secured the inclusion in the agreement of a new market-based instrument, the Sustainable Development Mechanism. In a society dominated by large corporations, this seems to be the preferred solution of our political leaders. The history of market-based solutions to environmental problems shows that they are less effective than regulatory approaches that clearly define a goal to be achieved. Think, for example, of the European carbon market, which has so far failed. However, the agreement also emphasises highly non-market-based approaches, which reveal a compromise and which I hope will leave an opportunity to prove once again what is really going on. But some damage has already been done. This happened as Trump announced his intention to leave the deal and began rolling back Obama`s climate rules. That`s twice a Democratic president who signed an international climate agreement and a Republican who then broke up (the first was the Kyoto Protocol, signed by Clinton in 1997 but never ratified by Bush). Even if a Democrat wins in 2020 and helps him back to the deal, who could have confidence in the sustainability of the commitment beyond 2024? The agreement contains no mechanism to resolve the inevitable controversies over who is doing enough, nor any real way to call or punish those who are not. In the absence of leverage instruments for national decisions, these decisions are taken for national reasons.

The Paris Agreement on combating climate change is universal in that it applies to all countries. It creates a new international climate regime that moves away from the Kyoto Protocol, which only targeted historical emitters and which has adopted a top-down approach. Even most countries have not contributed to the great threat that climate change poses to human life, but now all countries – not just the largest historical emitters – must play their part; the remaining place in the atmosphere for greenhouse gases (also known as the carbon budget) is now insufficient to continue emissions if we want to avoid dangerous climate effects and irreversible consequences. . . .


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