Shortcomings Of Paris Agreement

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush joined 107 other heads of state at the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil to adopt a series of environmental agreements, including the UNFCCC framework, which is still in force today. The international treaty aims to prevent dangerous human intervention in the planet`s climate systems in the long term. The pact does not set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from individual countries and does not contain enforcement mechanisms, but establishes a framework for international negotiations on future agreements or protocols to set binding emissions targets. Participating countries meet annually at a Conference of the Parties (COP) to assess their progress and continue discussions on how best to combat climate change. The same nations that are asking us to maintain the agreement are the countries that have cost the United States billions of dollars through hard trade practices and, in many cases, lax contributions to our critical military alliance. You see what`s going on. It`s pretty obvious to those who want to keep an open mind. There are some historical examples, such as human rights, where there is broad international agreement, clear red lines that cannot be crossed, and real economic threats through sanctions or boycotts. (Even then, problems of collective action are emerging.) But climate change is not well suited to this kind of thing. There are no clear red lines, there are no agreed measures, who should do what and how much to issue is too much. And it is difficult to punish countries for the production of products that sanctions countries consume.

The United States, the world`s second-largest emitter, is the only country to withdraw from the agreement, a move by President Donald J. Trump that came into effect in November 2020. Some other countries have not officially approved the agreement: Angola, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Turkey and Yemen. The agreement contains no mechanism for resolving the inevitable controversies over who does enough, nor any real possibility of calling or punishing those who are not. In the absence of instruments to use national decisions, these decisions are taken for national reasons. Risks are increasing because, historically, these agreements only become ambitious over time. In other words, the Paris framework is a starting point, no matter how bad, it is not an end point.

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