(JollofNews)- From 30 November to 11 December 2015, Paris chaired and hosted the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21).
Since 1995, the COP has been held each year in a different country and attended by the 196 parties (195 states + the European Union) that have ratified the Convention to review implementation of the Convention and negotiate new commitments. It is for this reason that COP21, and Paris Agreement in particular has been heralded as a major and an unprecedented milestone in saving the planet, today and tomorrow following the Paris Accord. But Trump just announced today that the US is pulling out because he said the deal is bad for business for the US. Nothing can be further away from the truth. To expose his lies, let us look at what the Paris climate agreement is saying?
The Paris Agreement
In the agreement all the 195 countries pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2025-2030. This pledge is contained in what is called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), a set of proposals from each country as to how it intends to reduce emissions. Therefore contrary to Trump’s misinformation the Paris Accord did not impose anything on any country.
In the run-up to COP21, every state party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was invited to communicate its INDC, detailing the steps it is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 or 2030.
Accordingly, even a small country like the Gambia gave its proposal, which is to reduce overall emissions by about 44.4% in 2025 and 45.4% in 2030. In this plan, the Gambia Government included two unconditional mitigation options, i.e. to increase investment and use of renewable energy and also in the short-term, to make the country transition to low-emissions and climate resilient development pathway.
According to the UN, there is unanimous agreement from scientists, that the earth’s atmosphere is growing warmer due to greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity. The aim of the Paris Conference was therefore to come up with a response to this problem, which is threatening to wipe out the human presence in certain parts of the world.
The UN said the agreement marked a change in direction towards a new world, which confirmed the target of keeping the rise in temperature below 2°C. Scientists believe that a greater increase in temperature would be very dangerous. The agreement even establishes, for the first time, that the world should be aiming for 1.5°C, to protect island states, which are the most threatened by the rise in sea levels.
The Paris Agreement therefore asks all countries to review these contributions every five years from 2020. The agreement acknowledges that $100 billion (in loans and donations) will need to be raised each year from 2020 to finance projects that enable countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change such as rise in sea level, droughts, among others, or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement specifies that this amount should increase otherwise called the Green Climate Fund.
COP21 recognized that not all countries are equally responsible for global warming. Thus one of the main principles of climate negotiations is that countries have common but differentiated responsibilities when it comes to climate change, depending on their wealth in particular.
The agreement establishes an obligation for industrialized countries to fund climate finance for poor countries, while developing countries are invited to contribute on a voluntary basis. The ten largest CO2 emitters are, in the order of the size of the emission, China, the United States, Europe (a single contribution for the 28 Member States), India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The other two key measures for tackling climate change are adaption and mitigation. In adaptation, it is expected that states will take measures to reduce the impact of climate change such as building dykes in coastal zones. Mitigation measures and policies are meant to encourage the development of renewable energies and supporting lower-emission modes of transport.
Politics of Climate Change
The issue of climate change has always been a contentious issue where states, especially more powerful and richer countries such as the US and EU have dragged their feet in responding to the demands and urgency of the matter.
Since the first climate conference in 1979 in Geneva to the 2005 Kyoto Protocol which only the US and Australia refused to ratify among the 36 targeted developed countries, to COP15 at the 2009 Copenhagen conference which approved the shared target to limit global warming to 2°C, it has been found that poor leadership has been the major stumbling factor in addressing global warming.
It is in light of this that the full agreement of the countries of the world in Paris was extremely commendable and significant. But this leadership does not rest only with advanced countries and the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, but poor and developing countries like the Gambia also bear equal responsibility to ensure the development and implementation of proposals to tackle global warming among other measures intended to support poor and farming communities to adapt to the situation.
It has been noted that when global warming is effectively tackled, not only does it save farm lands, ensure better rainfalls and prevent other vagaries of the weather, but also, these gains translate in more job creation.
The UN has noted that better climate change policies could produce 6,000 green jobs in Macedonia by 2030, 58,000 in Tunisia, 40,000 in Senegal. Meanwhile, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), by 2020, 75 to 250 million people across sub-Saharan Africa could face water shortage, and rain-fed agriculture could contract by 50% in some African countries. The World Bank adds that rise in temperatures could cause permanent GDP loses of 4-5% for Africa.
Hence the announcement by Trump is nothing but a bunch of false alarms and irrelevant statistics intended to scare the people of the US and the world. None of what Trump said is true. The fact is that in the US alone, California, which is the sixth largest economy in the world, is one of the topmost places on earth with advanced climate change policies and programs that are paying off well.
These policies and programs are the basis for the immense growth in that single state within the USA. If one state within the USA can succeed why cannot the US as a whole implement those same policies and programs and succeed? But Trump does not want t hear that because Trump is looking at his businesses and not jobs for the hardworking American people he always trumpet.
What the world has to realize is that Trump is in this for his own business empire. Right now in Scotland, Trump has been fighting the Scottish authorities against their attempt to build some wind turbines near his golf course in that country. Even when it is clear that those wind turbines are good for the Scottish and UK economy and will create jobs, yet Trump opposes it for years now just because he thinks that is not good for his business.
Hence Trump is not pulling out of the Paris Accord for any nationalistic reason but only for selfish reasons. His claim that US is to give billions upon billions to India or redistribute its wealth to every country is not true. Certainly the American negotiators that went to Paris for this agreement are not stupid fools to just sell America to the world.
Hence Trump is merely engaged in a hype in order to hoodwink the ordinary masses of the US who are absolutely unaware of the how the world works to make them feel that he is there fore them. But trump is there for no one. Trump is there for only Trump. Period.
Therefore, by pulling out and given that the US is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases means the security and the future of the world is now severely threatened. Trump is the world’s biggest liability right now! All countries particularly developing countries must condemn this decision. The United Nations must propose sanctions against the US right now. All countries must take measures to impose taxes and stiff measures on US companies as well as American products such as cars, fridges, aeroplanes and similar technological items to make the US pay for the emissions that come as a result of the manufacture of these products.
Time to impose stiff sanctions against the US!
By Madi Jobarteh