The Challenge: Urgent Climate Action to Secure A Liveable and Sustainable Future In Accordance with Paris Agreement Obligations - Must History Repeat? (Posted 05 April 2023)

TAGS: Paris Agreement; IPCC; 1.50C; net zero; NDCs; Antonio Guterres; historic emissions; national responsibility; conflict; equity; common but differentiated responsibility; level playing field; climate justice; environmental dispute resolution

1.0 The March 2023 Report of the IPCC raised significant concerns over NDCs and the likelihood for warming to exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century. To limit warming to 1.5°C, emissions must decrease now and be cut by almost half by 2030. Similar concerns over NDCs had been raised in the past by the UN’s Environment “Emissions Gap Reports”.

2.0 Because of the wide disparity of national historical emissions contributing to global warming, not all countries face the same level of national responsibility to reduce emissions to achieve the  net-zero goal.

For example, evaluation of national responsibility for historical emissions

from fossil fuel, cement and LULUCF from 1850-2021,

identified the 10 top emitters for cumulative CO2 emissions:

USA, China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany, India, UK, Japan, Canada.

3.0 In responding to the IPCCs 2023 Report, the U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, identified the ‘principle of common but different responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances [“CBDR-RC” principle] as a key driver for achieving net zero deadlines.

4.0 But, in the past, critics claims that the CBDR-RC principle as one of the most contentious aspects of the  climate regime since its inception fuelled controversy and limited adoption of the principle.

5.0 Understanding the application of Paris Agreement Article 2.2, which links equity and the CBDR-RC principle, is a relevant consideration - not only for resolving this controversy, but also for providing the framework for shared responsibility to reduce emissions to achieve net zero.

6.0 An effective equity/CBDR-RC linkage would also minimise the extent to which environmental costs and benefits were shared disproportionately between all countries for reaching net zero; and for ensuring equitable outcomes that lead to climate justice: -

In this regard, climate justice is crucial for fulfilling the equitable outcome for net zero sought by the U.N. Director-General : “Every country must be part of the solution. Demanding others move first only ensures humanity comes last”.

Download this LINK to read more on why a problem-solving pathway

based on the implementation of the Paris Agreement obligation

that links equity to the CBDR-RC principle,

together with environmental dispute resolution concepts

of "joint action" and "shared responsibility"

provide a framework for securing a liveable and sustainable future for all.


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