The United Nations Paris climate agreement was signed in New York last weekend. A turning point in reducing global warming was ushered. The world is now on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
But there are many gaps and caveats.
In an election year, Conservative static continues to cloud every dust of climate change reasoning. With evidence suggesting that leading Republican presidential candidate Donald J Trump, and Senator Ted Cruz are in disagreement with the science of climate change and hold strong criticism to the Paris climate change agreement; this simply means that a Republican victory for the White House in November will severely undermine the agreement.
At this point, it is also good to know that according to a senior US State Department official, “there is a difference between signing the agreement and joining. It is affirmed that the Paris Climate change agreement is a signal of commitment and not of reality. “ Joining on the other hand, is purely intentional.
Whatever this means, it is clear that a universal climate change deal is far from over.
More significantly, while the Paris climate change agreement have exceeded the 55 countries needed for joining; it is also believed that the process of executing the agreement might be a lengthy one. Many countries including Mexico may have to adopt new legislations and others may have to go through parliamentary debates before the agreement can be ratified.
It also follows, that if “one of the major objectives of policy makers is the orchestration of massive wealth transfer from rich countries to poor nations,” then it stands to reason that some of the disadvantages of the agreement will not only be in rising sea levels, but also over cash transfer targets as well.
While the agreement echo a new dawn in climate change awareness, it is also assumed that the agreement will also stop the economic advancement of many countries and create arguments over cash transfer between the developed world and the developing world.
In essence, the Paris climate change agreement pledges to expend billions of dollars in funding to ease the shift from low carbon fuels and help developing nations cope with the problems of climate change. Yet, it poses the serious questions of what plans does the United Nations have in place to make sure that developed nations keep their promises? Will the United Nations consider the suggestions to set up carbon auditors to verify nation emission reductions as had been previously discussed in Paris?
Clearly, one of the key points of the Paris climate change agreement is “averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damages associated with the adverse effects of climate change.” As of now it is assumed that wealthy nations are still not held liable for the damage of climate change, neither have they provided a liability for compensation to poorer nations.
Moreover, statistical evidence continue to confirm that major players like China, Germany, India, Poland and Brazil are building more fossil fuel power plants and increasing their dependence on fossil fuels.
Elaborating further, the US Supreme Court have halted president Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Even though the president affirms that the climate deal is consistent with existing US laws, and does not require the approval of a Republican controlled Senate, Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell (K) is urging governors to refuse to comply with the plan.
It is also evident that all of this gives credibility that the ‘one world, one climate’ mantra enforces a weakened climate change agreement that echo the same alarm to that of the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and of the Copenhagen Summit of 2009.
The Paris climate change agreement is a strong signal of political determination by world leaders, but according to the director of strategy and policy for the union of concerned scientist Alden Meyer, “ there is still a lot of work to do to nail these domestic actions.”
And while all of this is taking place, climate change continues to pose a threat to human and economic development in the world at large. Rising sea levels continue to increase threatening lives, property and livelihood. Temperatures are increasing, ocean waters are warming and expanding and small island states are disappearing with the impact of climate change.
The Paris climate change agreement may be an ambitious and balanced plan and a historic turning point in the goal of reducing global warming, but according to French ambassador to the United Nation, Francois Delattre, – : “On espere, — One hopes.”