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Draft Petition on Climate change: for Compliance and Enforcement of State Obligations and Commitments PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 23:26

Draft Petition on Climate Change: for Compliance and Enforcement of State Obligations and Commitments
PEJ news - Compiled Joan Russow, Richard Levicki and Deborah Andrews

In 1988, scientists, politicians and members of non Government organizations (NGOs) met at the Changing Atmosphere Conference in Toronto to address the issue of climate change and warned that:

"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 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".

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In the Conference Statement from the 1988 Conference, theparticipants, scientists, government representatives, industry, otherorganizations called for:

" the Stabilizing of the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is animperative goal. It is currently estimated to require reductions ofmore than 50% from present [1988] emission levels. Energy research anddevelopment budgets must be massively directed to energy options whichwould eliminate or greatly reduce CO2 emissions and to studies undertaken to further refine the target reductions."

(1).For years, member states of the United Nations have been warned about climatechange and have been incurring obligations and makingcommitments related to climate change through a range of Conventions,Conference Action plans and General Assembly resolutions. The Time forprocrastination has long since passed.

(2). Becoming more and more aware of the dangers related to climatechange, legal instruments already in place have become more relevantto policy decision making, for example the provision under the Charterof the United Nations to seek an advisory opinion from theInternational Court of Justice (ICJ) on the impact of climate changeon international peace and security, to launch cases against theegregious greenhouse gas producing states that are signatories of theUN Convention on Climate Change, to invoke the Environment section ofthe ICJ. In addition, the ICJ to investigate (i) the failure on thepart of the IAEA –the so-called "nuclear Watchdog" - to acknowledgethe inextricable link between nuclear energy and the development ofnuclear arms (ii) the questionable role of the IAEA in promotingnuclear energy as the solution to climate change.

(3) Commemorating the Fifteenth anniversary of the United NationsConference on Environment and Development, and subsequent relevantconferences

(4) Concurring with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change onthe anthropogenic causes of climate change, and reaffirming theprecautionary principle which was enunciated in both the RioDeclaration on Environment and Development and in the FrameworkConvention on Climate Change.

(5) "The Climate Change Convention came into force in the spring of1994. Under the Convention, the signatories of the Convention werebound to invoke the precautionary principle which affirmed thatgovernments should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent,or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverseeffects. Where there is the threat of serious or irreversible damage,lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason forpostponing measures to prevent the threat."

(6) Adaptation to climate change should not be used to justifyinaction in preventing and mitigating its effects.

(7) Aware that while the threat of climate change has been obvious fordecades, policy makers in governments and the private sector includingthe military establishment, as the major contributors to greenhousegas emissions, have refused to address the urgency of the crisis.Largely coerced into this position by industry, industry front groups,industry funded academics and industry controlled states, they havenot only failed to address the urgency of the crisis through enactingeffective legislation, they have also failed to even consider thesufficient resources that will be required to protect the poor andmost vulnerable from the current and future impacts of climate change.In addition, they have failed to consider the need to assist low-lyingstates and small island developing states that have already beenimpacted by climate change, and to compensate the global displacementof people resulting from climate change.

(8) Acknowledging the importance of the 1992 UN Conference onEnvironment and Development (UNCED), and the Framework Convention onClimate Change which was signed and ratified by most Member States ofthe United Nations including many who have not ratified the KyotoProtocol, and which called for the reduction of greenhouse gasemissions and the preservation of carbon sinks such as old growthforests and bogs, with a final objective of stabilizing emissions toprevent dangerous anthropogenic interferences within mandatory timeframes;

(9) Noting that the General Assembly resolution A/RES/47/191 statesthat the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) should ensureeffective follow-up to Agenda 21, and other UNCED obligations andcommitment. And concurring with the commitment made under Chapter 9,the section on Atmosphere in Agenda 21, calling for environmentallysound renewable energy:

"New and renewable energy sources are solar thermal, solarphotovoltaic, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, ocean, animal andhuman power, as referred to in the reports of the Committee on theDevelopment and Utilization of New and Renewable Sources of Energy,prepared specifically for the Conference (see A/CONF.151/PC/119 andA/AC.218/1992/5).

(10) And concerned that the CSD failed in this role in its currentformat as shown by the failure of negotiations at CSD15, especially toproduce a negotiated outcome on climate change and other issues.

(11) Concurring with the fundamental principle enunciated throughoutUN documents: of the right of future generations to their ecologicalheritage and a safe environment and specifically the obligationenunciated in the Framework Convention on Climate Change "to protectthe climate system for present and future generations.

(12) Recalling the commitment made to reduce the ecological footprint,(Habitat II) and to move away from the over-consumptive pattern ofdevelopment (Agenda 21) and to respect the inherent worth of naturebeyond human purpose (World Charter of Nature).

(13) Recalling also the commitment made in the 1995, Platform ofAction, UN Convention on Women: Equality, Development and Peace, toensure that "all corporations including transnational corporations,comply with national laws and codes, social security regulations,applicable international agreements, instruments and conventions,including those related to the environment, and other relevant lawsand international environmental law" (Section 167).

(14) Noting the importance of implementing the commitment made, inAgenda 21, to the "the reallocation of resources presently committedto military purposes" ( 33.18e ); and urge part of the peace dividendto be transferred to the development of environmentally safe and soundalternative energy. and to the instituting of the "fair and justtransition principle" for affected workers and communities; We urgeall members of society, and institutions to invest in sociallyequitable and environmentally safe and sound energy. that will reducegreenhouse gas emissions.

(15) Deeply concerned that foreign refusal to supply fossil fuel forconsumption could be deemed to violate "strategic national interest"and result in military intervention;

(16) Concerned that solutions proposed to address the issue of climatechange would have in themselves serious irreversible consequences,such as those arising out of the use of genetically engineeringtechnology, about biofuels, as they impact land, water use and foodsecurity Similarly, we have grave reservations about nuclear energybeing proposed as a solution to climate change because (althoughpromulgated as "safe, clean, and cheap, there is clear and validscientific evidence of its inherent dangers: lack of safety (emissionsinto both air and ground water), security-linked issues, unresolved(and likely unresolvable) waste disposal problems and finally, itsinextricable link with the development of nuclear arms.

(17) Reaffirming that Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainabledevelopment" ( Rio Declarations. Principle 24, UNCED, 1992), and thatthere must be rigorous adherence to and enforcement of the [1978]Convention on the Prohibition of Military of Any Other Hostile Use ofEnvironmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD) .

(18) Concurring with the fundamental principle of intergenerationalequity [and] the rights of future generations to their cultural,natural heritage and to a safe environment and affirming theobligation in the Framework Convention on Climate Change " to protectthe climate system for present and future generations."

(19) Taking into account the principle of common but differentiatedresponsibility and accepting that developing countries have adoptedPrinciple 3 of the Rio Declaration (1992) that "The right todevelopment must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmentaland environmental needs of present and future generations."Industrialised nations must work cooperatively, and in the bestinterests of those nations and peoples with the least resources tosupport those nations in developing strategies for addressing thepotential impact of climate change as well as strategies forconservation and the development of alternative sources of energiesuniquely suited to their circumstances." The impact on the world'spoor must be given the highest priority.

Towards this end, emission targets and time frames should be linkedto per capita allowances, taking into account the concept of common butdifferentiated responsibilities and that population growth is relatedto per capita emissions policies, most importantly since 1992.

(20) "We recommend that the Commission on Sustainable Development, inlight of the failure in negotiations of CSD15 to produce a negotiatedoutcome on climate change and other issues, be upgraded to a Council,that would be able to convene at any time to deal with new or emergingenvironmental threats. This council should be based in Switzerland andgovernments must send mandated experts to negotiate real solutions tothe issues.

(21) We recommend that UNEP be upgraded to the status of an agency."and be given the mandate to inform states of relevant precedentsduring negotiating processes so as to ensure compliance with previousobligations incurred and commitments made.

(22) We demand that rather than descending to the lowest commondenominator in assessing climate targets in all internationalnegotiating arenas the strongest percentage target advocated to bestaddress the crisis be adopted Based on current knowledge we demand aminimum of a 2°C and 400ppm CO2-equivalent emission target withinadequate timeframes , and a phase out to at least 90% of 1990 levelsby 2050, taking into account the precautionary principle, just andfair transition and the concept of common but differentiatedresponsibility.

And Affirm that Nuclear is absolutely not considered in any way to bean option to this end, and carbon capture both under ground andthrough tree planting, so-called clean fossil fuels and large scalehydroelectric sources should also not be seen as option to this end.

(23) We warn all governments and their politicians that failure totake actions aiming for these targets may in medium to poor casescenarios, be seen as a crime against humanity and a breach of a rangeof UN legal instruments and in direct contravention of all lawsrequiring nation states to respect and avoid carrying out actions thatare a threat to life environmental justice and equity , peace andsecurity. For this reason we also ask that the UN General Assemblytake on the issue and demand agreement, and that major greenhouse gasproducing states be forced to implement actions that dischargeobligations made on ratifying UNFCCC. In addition, historic emissionsshould be considered and evaluated and that refusal to take actionsince the coming into force of the UNFCCC should be considered andevaluated, and that refusal to take action since 1993 must be deemedrelevant to the assessment of a state's dereliction of duty.

(24 ) We recommend that the Follow up to the Kyoto protocol or anyother policy agreement/legal instrument directed towards reducingclimate change related emission should move towards an equitableinternational system that does not prejudice the worlds poor orpolitically disadvantaged. Towards this end, emission targets and timeframes should be linked to per capita allowances, taking into accountthe concept of common but differentiated responsibilities and thatpopulation growth is related to per capita emissions policies, mostimportantly since 1992.

(25) We urge all states to have a time-bound phasing out of subsidiesfor fossil fuel and nuclear energy, and a time- bound commitment toconservation, and to subsidizing and investing in socially equitableand environmentally safe and sound alternative energy options,especially renewables, that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Weoppose the advocating of nuclear energy as a solution to climatechange – No proposed course of action should either continue orexacerbate global warming and climate change.

(26) We advocate that, to achieve UNFCCC commitment it is imperativethat governments and international organizations adopt at the nationallevel, policies leading to timetables for progressively disclosing andphasing out energy subsidies which inhibit sustainable development Thedominant greenhouse gas producing states should be compelled tofinance an international fund for sustainable energy that wouldsupport energy conservation and sustainable forms of renewable energyprojects in low income areas of developing countries and economies intransition, as well as monitor the disclosure and phasing out of suchsubsidies. In addition, the exploitation of human and naturalresources by developed states in developing states and states intransition has undermined the ability of the latter states to addressthe impact of climate change.

(27) We call for the dominant greenhouse gas producing states andtheir 'overseas' operations (military and corporate) should beassessed a fine commensurate with the pollution they are inflicting onthe world. That this fine be established to occur on a monthly basis,and be reduced in percentage equal to the percentage of the reductionof pollution achieved. The current rate of pollution to be tabulatedas "100% of the current rate of pollution). This would draw dramaticattention to two elements: the egregious use of military force andoccupation and its enormous contribution to waste and pollution of thesoil, the air, the water – not to mention migration, dislocation,destruction of societies, property and antiquities.

(28) We call for bold action to be taken immediately to effectivelyaddress the crisis, and affirm that climate change represents a directthreat to our future and common efforts to achieve the implementationof the MDGs, including long-term food security, provision of cleanwater and sanitation, clean air and to ensure that environmentallysound development is also socially equitable and sustainable.– Climatechange is a direct threat to social peace and security, globaleconomic stability, equality, environmentally sound development,poverty reduction, the prevention of disease and food security;

(29) We call upon States to implement the commitment made in Agenda 21to "the reallocation of resources committed to military purposes"(33.18), and to transfer the peace dividend to seriously address theurgent issue of climate change. And to finally act on the minimallong-standing commitment of 0.7% of GDP being transferred to OverseasDevelopment, towards overseas development aid (ODA). We oppose ODAbeing linked to military purchases, or to the acceptance of sociallyinequitable and environmentally unsound practices or technologies

(30) We recommend that the Commission on Sustainable Development, beupgraded to a Council with appropriate political power, that would beable to convene at any time to develop and implement solutionsintended to address unresolved extreme environmental as well as new oremerging issues, and we would propose the setting up of anInternational Court of Compliance, linked to the ICJ, where citizens could take cases of state and corporate non-compliance

2007 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 11:58
 

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