By Andres Corr
Enforcement mechanisms for climate change targets are not being implemented, including in the Paris Agreement of December 2015.
We are actually sliding backwards on this critical element of a global climate deal.
Sanctions were agreed in 2001, that any developed countries that missed emission limits between 2008 and 2012 would have even steeper limits in the future.
That has since lapsed.
In 2011, all countries agreed that a climate agreement should have “legal force.” Legal force requires an enforcement mechanism, which the Paris Agreement lacks. The E.U. pushed hard for binding targets in the Paris
Agreements, including international sanctions for noncompliance. Those did not come about. Bolivia called for an International Climate Justice Tribunal with the mandate to penalize countries for lack of compliance. There is no tribunal in the Paris Agreement.
Rather, most developed and emerging economies have systematically resisted international enforcement mechanisms. China (the world’s biggest emissions producer), Russia, the U.S., Canada, India, Japan, Australia, and major energy exporters, resisted the toughest climate change countermeasures over the years, including international monitoring and sanctions. Some in these countries have bemoaned the loss of sovereignty from transparency and enforceable international climate deals.
As a result, the 2°C limit in the Paris Agreement on climate change, which started this month, is unenforceable and therefore solely an aspiration if the world can achieve carbon neutrality by 2100. The way things are going, that is unlikely. The Paris Agreement is now among over 500 similarly powerless global and regional environmental agreements.
President-elect Trump and other Republicans have dismissed global warming and the international coordination required to stop it.
The countries most responsible for lagging in their pledges and policies since the Paris Agreement include Russia, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The U.S., China, India, Brazil, and E.U. countries also lag in their pledges and policies to achieve a climate-neutral future. Those countries that most opposed enforcement, unsurprisingly, also lag in their policy measures to achieve the Paris goals.
Given current pledges, temperature rise is predicted to be 2.8°C by 2100. But even these pledges to limit greenhouse gases have not been fulfilled.
Factoring in current policies, rather than just aspirational pledges, temperature rise is predicted to be 3.6°C. So despite the political fanfare in Paris, the planet is likely headed for irreversible catastrophic climate change.
To bequeath a livable planet to our grandchildren, citizens must demand of their governments greater global transparency and enforcement measures against emissions.
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