HUMANITIES SCIENCE POLITICS
Science, People & Politics, Issue Four October - December, 2015. ISSN 1751-598X (online)
the creation or maintenance of reservoirs and sinks to absorb emissions, be they excessive or not. What constitutes an excessive emission for a given activity in given
circumstance is problematic in terms of equity, diplomacy and international relations. Who pays for technological developments, and who was responsible for degrading a resource
in the first place, are issues fueling polemic and politics.
Developed countries, says article 4 (4), should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide, emission reduction targets. Running through the Agreement is awareness that
developed and developing countries have different resources. The former, says the Paris Agreement, should move toward limitation targets, reflecting their national
circumstances. Balancing climate action with poverty reduction, developed countries should also help the developing countries financially -- an obligation under the UNFCCC -- and
with capacity building. World Bank projects include climate change as one of the cross cutting issues to address (See Issue 1, 2015 of Science, People & Politics).
Double counting -- as in all accounting -- of actions related to emission reduction is frowned on by all the instruments having legal force under the UNFCCC. For example, one may
not claim to have reduced emissions both by creating a physical filter capturing a GHG before it reaches the atmosphere, and by saying this is how much GHG is not released. It has
to be one or the other.
Specifically, also, article 6 (5) says, when one country transfers its GHG reduction to another, only one of the countries may claim that reduction as part of its nationally
determined contribution (NDC).
If disputes arise between or among individual nations the UNFCCC allows for ultimate appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Rather than submitting to the ICJ, regional
economic integration organizations may appeal for arbitration. Regional economic integration organizations are defined in the 1992 UNFCCC as regional Sovereign States which are
authorized by their members to exercise competence in matters covered by the UNFCCC.
Any regional economic integration organizations that becomes a Party to the Paris Agreement are bound by the agreement, even if all their members are not individually parties. Member
States of regional economic integration bodies and the intergovernmental body must under the Paris agreement decide which exercises responsibility for performance of obligation under
the agreement. They cannot exercise rights concurrently. A regional economic integration body has as many votes as it has Member States which are parties to the Paris Agreement, providing
those States have not voted independently.
What happens under the Paris Agreement of 2015, adopted under the UNFCCC, intercalates with the UN's 2030 agenda for sustainable development declared in September 2015 by
Heads of government. That agenda was part of the UN's 70th ______________________________________________ Go to inside back page
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Publication 3rd February, 2015