Withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement

Time for a Level Playing Field and Climate Justice?

PART1: Problem Definition Based on Interests-Not Position

(Posted 17 August 2017)

1.0   President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States’ ratification of the Paris Agreement galvanized critics from diverse backgrounds throughout the United States and the World.

2.0   The polarised scientific opinion over the United States withdrawal that emerged has been  followed by uncertainty over what pathway will be taken “to ensure America remains the world's leader on environmental issues but under a framework that is fair."

3.0   Real action is required by the United States to restore or enhance its influence, prestige and good reputation for environmental protection and management.

4.0   In the first of a three-part article, the focus is on understanding the interests underlying the position taken to withdraw – rather than the position itself: Interests that must be satisfied for the United States to re-enter the Paris Agreement are reviewed.



PART 2: The Cornerstones: Sustainable Development-Equity-CBDR

(Posted 12 September 2017)

KEY WORDS: Paris Agreement; obligations; ratification; President Trump; level playing field; meaning; emissions; global temperature rise; NDCs; differentiated responsibilities; fairness

1.0   The plain or literal meaning of  the concept for a “level playing fieldrelates to “a sense of fairness”, “equal chances”, “equality of opportunity” or no “competitive advantage” for stakeholders.

2.0   But, the plain meaning for the concept may be open to many interpretations when applied to climate change and so not facilitate consistency in decision-making.

3.0   An alternative pathway does exist to define it: The legislative drafting approach of law.

4.0   Defining a level playing field for climate change, by adopting this approach, gives effect to its scientific or technical meaning – not its plain meaning.

5.0   The outcome: A level playing field for climate change that is defined in terms of its underlying obligations under the Paris Agreement: Sustainable development, equity and the principle of CBDR.



Part 3. A Problem-Solving Pathway for Achieving Climate Justice

(Posted 27 October 2017)

TAGS: Paris Agreement; carbon dioxide; LULUCF; equity; fairness; climate justice; CBDR; shared responsibility; sustainable development; guiding principles; UN 2030 Agenda; SDG 13 Climate Action; sustainable development targets

1.0    The pathway outlined is based on sustainable development, equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. They all arise as legal obligations imposed under Article 2 of the Paris Agreement following its ratification.

2.0    These obligations are interdependent and mutually supporting.

3.0    They are also the cornerstones for achieving the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals.

4.0    The elephant-in -the-room is the extent that NDCs resonate with these Paris Agreement obligations?

5.0    Applying the obligation for equity leads to climate justice adding a relevant dimension for achieving the central aim of the Paris Agreement to address climate change.




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