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COP 21 failed to address the urgency of Climate Change; Time to be Bold PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Written by Joan Russow
Friday, 09 September 2016 13:04


By Joan Russow PhD

Global Compliance Research Project


One systemic Constraint is that some NGOs support a flawed document, which does not seriously address the prevention of climate change because the document has, like an omnibus bill , included some statements that promote the NGOs main agenda, such as nature-based solutions alone.



In SDG13 on climate change, addressing climate change is described as urgent; climate change could jeopardize the fulfillment of most of the SDGs. and the key biodiversity areas.

In 1988, at the Changing Atmosphere Conference in Toronto, the participants including representatives from government, academia, NGO and industry expressed their concern about Climate Change in the Conference statement:


“Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war. the Earth’s atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from human activities, inefficient and wasteful fossil fuel use ... These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.... it is imperative to act now.


The Conference called for immediate action by governments,


to Reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 20% of 1988 levels by the year 2005 as an initial global goal. Clearly the industrialized nations have a responsibility to lead the way both through their national energy policies and their bilateral multilateral assistance arrangement.


Ban Ki Moon, in Paris, urged states to negotiate with a global vision not with national vested interests (COP 21 press conference)


A global vision  would be to address article 2 and at a minimum to immediately end all subsidies for fossil fuel, to calculate the carbon budget for each state, to divest in fossil fuels and to reinvest in renewable energy, to conserve sinks -such as old growth forests and bogs (not  just as a means to offset emissions), to strengthen conservation of  biodiversity, to avoid all false solutions such as nuclear, geo-engineering and biofuels which would all violate principles within the UNFCCC, promote nature-based solutions along with solar energy, wind energy, wave and geothermal and to compensate for historical  emissions, and to institute a fair and just transition for workers affected negatively by the new vision.


In 2016 the global community is in danger of non-compliance with the purpose of the legally binding United Nations Framework on Climate Change( article 2)

..."to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of

the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas

concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent

dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."


Also in UNFCCC there was a reference to transportation


Promote and cooperate in the development, application and diffusion, including transfer, of technologies, practices and processes that control, reduce or prevent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol in all relevant sectors, including the energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management sectors; ARTICLE 4C COMMITMENTS

In Paris agreement no mention of transportation, transit. automobile


At COP 21 there was  the violation  of the non-regression principle because in the legally binding 1992 UNFCCC, states made a commitment to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, while in the Paris Agreement the states only made a "contribution". 


The contributions by states in the Paris Agreement could result in a temperature rise of over 3 degree rise in temperature. Also the legitimate  concern  about the looming exhaustion of the carbon budget was ignored in the Paris Agreement.

 2016 is the 40th Anniversary of Habitat 1 and in 1976 at Habitat 1, member states of the United Nations affirmed the following in assessing the military budget:

"The waste and misuse of resources in war and armaments should be prevented. All countries should make a firm commitment to promote general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control,
in particular in the field of nuclear disarmament part of the resources thus released should be utilized so as to achieve a better qua.lity of life for humanity, especially in the developing countries "(II, 12 Habitat 1).




Under Article 22 of the Charter of the United Nations, the UNGA is able to set up an international tribunal


An advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice should be sought on whether  the current ”contributions” in the Paris agreement  violate  Article 2 of the UNFCCC and determine what actions would be necessary to comply with article 2


The major greenhouse gas emitters, at a minimum, must  calculate their  carbon budget and  make  a firm commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below1990 levels by 2020 and to achieve decarbonisation and 100 % below 1990 levels by 2050


A Real global vision, however, would be time lines and targets in line with existing and emerging science such as 15% below 1990 by 2017, 20% below 1990 by 2018, 30% below 1990 levels by 2019, 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, 60 % below 1990 levels by 2025, 75% below 1990 below1990 levels by 2035 and 100% below 1990 emissions by 2040, and  reaching Decarbonization with 100% socially equitable ecologically sound renewable energy,


There must be an Immediate end to fossil fuel subsidies,and the

promotion of  a high and rising price on carbon, on a global scale, with some or all of the income to be redistributed on a per capita basis; this is the fee and dividend approach which has the benefit of redistributing income from high carbon users to those wo use less carbon (due to the dividend to households divided equally). This approach would have the effect of incentivizing for everyone the value of conservation and reducing fossil fuel energy use. 


 The IPCC must immediately cancel the exemption of greenhouse gas emissions from the military, and requests the IPCC  and must  require each state to release greenhouse gas emission information from the production of all weapons systems, military exercises, war games, weapons testing, military aviation

States  should be urged to reallocate military expenses to assist in fulfilling obligations under the UNFCCC and the Biodiversity Convention and to call for the UNGA, to invoke Article 22 of the Charter of the United Nations, and set up an international tribunal to address the urgency  and to further the legal imperative to act with urgency. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:44

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