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SDG Goal 13 Climate Change; urgent means urgent PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Written by Joan Russow
Friday, 14 August 2015 06:31

by Joan Russow Global Compliance Resaearch Project



COP 21 opens in Paris on November 30 2015

SDGs Goal 13 Climate Change; urgent means urgent

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

f you don’t leave crude oil in the soil Coal in the hole and tar sands in the land I will confront and denounce  you (Nnimmo Bassey, presentation at Peoples conference on Climate Change, Bolivia)


 In other words "Freeze fossil fuel extraction" oving rapidly towards decarbonization




The time for procrastination about climate change has long since passed; the world is in a state of emergency and further inaction is gross or even criminal negligence.



Targets and Timeframes


Because of the global urgency, there must be the political will to return earth’s temperature to its natural pre-industrial level, and strict time frames must be imposed, so that overall global emissions of greenhouse gases will begin to be reversed as of 2015 There must be a global target for greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2015, at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2020, at least 75% below 1990 levels by 2030, at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2040 and 100% below 1990 emissions by 2050  while adhering to the precautionary principle, the differentiated responsibility principle *, and the fair and just transition principle. The required reductions in emissions cannot be achieved without an immediate end to the destruction of carbon sinks. Under the UNFCCC, every state signatory incurred the obligation to conserve carbon sinks; thus the destruction of sinks, including deforestation and elimination of bogs must end immediately.

The goal of COP 21 must be to return temperatures to pre-industrial levels and return atmospheric CO2 back to 278ppm at the latest by 2050.

In addition "Mitigation" must include the contribution  of continued extraction  of fossil fuels:

from the Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO) www.leave-it-in-the-ground.org August 2015 The Paris Mirage -

"Reducing emissions while increasing them Many governments will pledge to reduce their countries’ CO2 emissions at COP21. Paradoxically, at the same time, most are working to increase them. Mitigation is not yet framed in terms of extraction of fossil fuels, but rather exclusively in terms of “emitting”. This allows extraction to go on, barely affected by mitigation efforts. Climate policy does not yet speak to mining and extraction policy. Governments continue to provide subsidies for fossil fuel extraction, even to exploration. The biggest national extraction sectors that in 2014 caused more than half a gigaton of CO2 emissions each are shown in Figure 1."



1. China coal: 7.7 Gt ^
2. USA coal: 1.8 Gt 
3. USA gas: 1.5 Gt ^
4. USA oil: 1.3 Gt ^
5. Saudi Arabia oil: 1.3 Gt ^
6. India coal: 1.3 Gt ^
7. Russia oil: 1.3 Gt ^
8. Russia gas: 1.2 Gt -
9. Australia coal: 1.0 Gt n
10. Indonesia coal: 0.9 Gt n
11. Russia coal: 0.7 Gt n
12. South Africa coal: 0.5 Gt n
Figure 1. Key extraction sectors with annual CO2 emissions and 5-year-trends (arrows)
Sector Extraction Reserves Years Paris Accord Impact
(GtCO2/year) (GtCO2) (R/P ratio)
China coal 7.7 229.0 30 No impact (intensity target)
USA coal 1.8 474.6 262 Negative impact
USA gas 1.5 19.5 13 No impact (coal substitution)
USA oil 1.3 15.4 11 No impact (import substitution)
Saudi Arabia oil 1.3 84.6 64 No impact (no target & export)
India coal 1.3 121.2 94 No impact (intensity target)
Russia oil 1.2 32.7 26 No impact (hot air & export)
Russia gas 1.2 65.3 56 No impact (hot air & export)
Australia coal 0.8 152.8 155 No impact (export)


Indonesia coal 0.9 56.0 61 Possibly small negative impact
Figure 2. Sectoral impacts of an assumed Paris Accord over the next 15 years
Sources: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015, own calculation


 Applicability of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

 Under Article 2 of the legally binding UN Framework Convention on Climate change, all states are legally bound “to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The fossil fuel states have already contributed, through fossil fuel subsidies, through reneging on Kyoto Protocol obligations and throughmaking a weak commitments in Copenhagen, to a dangerous level of anthropogenic emissions  dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

To succeed in being below the dangerous 1°C, member states of the United Nations would have had to commit to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. It is estimated that to remove the necessary CO2 from the atmosphere, member states of the United Nations would have to commit to removing over 1000GT CO2 by 2050. This must be done through socially equitable and environmentally safe and sound methods and the levels required calculated within an in depth research project. Greenhouse Gas emissions resulting from destructive land use practices including in the rural, the urban and peri-urban environment must end. In order to achieve the required emission reductions, deforestation and the destruction of carbon sinks must end immediately and developing nations whose development will be affected must be compensated.
The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of developing countries and of present and future generations.
The credible current emerging science has indicated that the global climate crisis is much more urgent than was conveyed in the 2007 IPCC Report that was based on data from the years 2004 and 2005. Current and emerging science must be taken into consideration in Paris.

The 2014 IPCC report. Stated;

Carbon dioxide is the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas.The global atmospheric concentration.



Need to move towards decarbonizationClimate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

3.4.1 Carbon-free energy and decarbonization

https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg3/en/ch3s3-4-1.htm3tion of carbon dioxide has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379


Principle 7 from the Rio Declaration is paramount 


 States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities. 


in 2005. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2005 exceeded by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years (180 to 300 ppm) as determined from ice core


Legal Remedy


In addition, major greenhouse gas-producing states must be forced to implement the actions that would discharge the obligations incurred when they signed and ratified the UNFCCC (provisions of the UNFCCC have become international peremptory norms and as such are binding) and other legal obligations and be forced to repay the emission debt. Historic emissions should be calculated and an assessment made of the degree of dereliction of duty in the implementation of the UNFCCC. From these assessments, provisions must be made to compensate the states that have been most damaged by the failure, of the major greenhouse gas emitting states, to discharge obligations under the Convention. In such cases, a fund should be set up to assist vulnerable states in taking delinquent states to the International Court of Justice, including the Chamber on Environmental Matters (http://www.icjcij.org/presscom/index.php?pr=106&p1=6&p2=1&search=%22%22Compositionof the Chamber for Environmental Matters


Industrialized states and major greenhouse gas producers must be prepared to enter into binding obligations not only through targets and time frames but also through funding mechanisms. This fund could be named Fund for the Implementation of the UNFCCC, and it would fund socially equitable and environmentally safe and sound energy renewable energy, transportation, agriculture and forestry. This fund would replace the GEF as the main source of funding for the UNFCCC. This international fund would take funds traditionally distributed not only through the GEF but also through the Bretton Woods institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and additional bilateral funds, and now be channelled through this global fund. This fund would be indispensable for preventing climate change, and for achieving the objectives of the UNFCCC. Additional funds must be derived from reallocation of global military expenses, including budgets and arms production; at the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, all member states of the United Nations agreed, in Chapter 33 of Agenda 21, to the reallocation of military expenses. Additionally budgetary sources for this Fund would be the redirecting of subsidies from socially inequitable and environmentally unsound non-sustainable energy. The financial deal must include the cancellation of the outstanding debt of developing states, and the implementation of the minimal long-standing commitment of 0.7% of GDP being transferred to Overseas Development (ODA). The 0.7% obligation for development must not be diverted to climate change; there must be an additional obligation of more than 7% of GDP specifically designated for addressing climate change prevention. Any shortfall in funding should be bolstered by increased ODA by nations that inequitably have gained an advantage from historical emissions or reduction scenarios that are not in line with the principle of equity.

These funding measures could only just begin to for the emissions debt owed, by the developed states to the developing states.



The IPCC and COP have not separately calculated the impact of militarism on greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time the dangers related to climate change, and the potential security implications related to resource conflict, and militarism has to be addressed. There is a disturbing link between foreign refusal to supply fossil fuel for the consumption of developed states being deemed to violate “strategic national interest” of developed states and the possible result of military intervention.
Vested Interests and need for majority decision making at COP 21

The entrenched immovable national interests have served to block serious legally binding instruments in Paris; must be prevented from blocking the adoption, in the General Assembly, of a strong legally binding agreement on climate change. Article 18 of the Charter of the United Nations reads: “Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. These questions shall include recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security.” Undoubtedly, the impact of climate change could be deemed to fall under this category. In Paris, given the urgency of the issue of climate change, and its potential effects on the global population and on the political, economic, ecological and social global systems, the requirement for consensus must be waived, and a binding agreement on all states will be deemed to exist, if 66 % of the states concur. It is possible that a majority of the member states could agree to a strong legally binding ‘Cancun protocol’ to the UNFCCC. A strong Protocol to the UNFCCC could then be used against the delinquent states, and a case could be taken to the International Court of Justice under the UNFCCC, which has been signed and ratified by 192 states. Even most of the delinquent states including Canada and the US, have signed and ratified the UNFCCC. If not 66%, then the proposal made by Papua New Guinea at COP 15 should be in place in Paris; the proposal was that state parties to the Convention should strive for consensus with a fall back on 75%. It should be noted that the UNFCCC was adopted by 150 of the then188 members of the United Nations (79%) and that under article 2 of the Montreal Protocol, Parties can if all efforts at consensus have been exhausted, and no agreement reached, adopt decisions by a two-thirds majority.


There is a recent precedent  in the negotiating process in the Arms Trade treaty 

Article 20. 3. The States Parties shall make every effort to achieve consensus on each amendment. If all efforts at consensus have been exhausted, and no agreement reached, the amendment shall, as a last resort, be adopted by a three-quarters majority vote of the States Parties present and voting at the meeting of the Conference of States Parties. For the purposes of this Article, States Parties present and voting means States Parties present and casting an affirmative or negative vote.



For full  document see CLIMATE CHANGE: COP 21 PARIS - TIME TO BE BOLD



Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 October 2015 12:48

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