April 22 2016 at 17:19
Accelerating Climate Action: Moving Beyond the Paris Agreement
by Cop22 Marrakech
Introduction from Oonagh Fitzgerald, Director, International Law Research Program (ILRP)
On April 22, more than a 130 States and at least 60 Heads of State, including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are expected to meet in New York to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. CIGI’s International Law Research Program (ILRP) is celebrating this historic moment by pledging our commitment as members of global civil society to contribute our international legal policy research and leadership skills to address climate change at the local, provincial, federal, regional and international level.
The Paris Agreement is a masterpiece of nudge diplomacy, uniting developed and developing countries under a banner of equity, sustainability and solidarity to work individually and collectively to share financial resources, knowledge, technology and know-how with the global goal of keeping average temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and as close to 1.5 degree Celsius as possible, and making a rapid transition to a global no carbon economy. To implement the Agreement requires numerous governance structures and legal frameworks at the international and domestic level. To mark the signing of the Agreement, CIGI ILRP fellows share their insights on how to accelerate climate action under the Paris Agreement and beyond.
On Human Rights and Indigenous People
Earth Day 2016 marks a historic occasion: the signing of the Paris Agreement in New York, the culmination of 21 years of international negotiation and UNFCCC process. I applaud the commitments of the Agreement, which are a great step forward in the race against catastrophic climate change.
But scientists say that under the current INDCs the global average temperature will soar by 3.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100. This is far above the 1.5 degree Celsius target, which, as President Hollande stated at the opening of COP21 in Paris, is the ‘absolute ceiling’ for global temperature rise if we are to prevent climate catastrophe. Anything above 1.5 degrees is a death sentence for us and for the planet. We have now arrived at the tipping point. There is no more time for prevarication, or delay. The time is now, and there is no Plan B.
In order for the Paris Agreement to keep the warming of the world below the 1.5 degree Celsius target governments must commit to reducing CO2 emissions ‘in accordance with best available science.’ They must embark upon a renewable energy revolution. They must commit to halt the burning of fossil fuels, which have already formed a toxic ‘blanket’ around the earth - they must ‘leave it in the ground.’ They must preserve the forests - between now and 2020 alone, we stand to lose 1,460,000,000 acres of tropical forest and 273,750 species.
I am concerned by the lack of legally binding language to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, who have time and again been proven the best custodians of ecosystems, including forests. Similarly, Article 7.5 of the Paris Agreement advises a “gender-responsive approach” to climate change - but the language is weak and non-binding. We cannot combat climate change without involving all stakeholders, including indigenous people and women, and their rights should have been at the heart of the Paris Agreement.
Bianca Jagger, CIGI Senior Fellow, ILRP
On Climate Change Technology
Access to climate change technology and its transfer is a key component of the fight against climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Paris Agreement established a Technology Mechanism to elaborate guidance on the preparation of technology action plans to implement the agreement outcomes. The Conference of the Parties also recognized the need for elaborating mutual linkages between the Technology Mechanism and the Green Climate Fund to ensure financial resources for technology development and transfer.
Bassem Awad, Deputy Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation, ILRP
Full text: https://www.cigionline.org/articles/accelerating-climate-action-moving-beyond-paris-agreement
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