Impacting Economic Consequences and Balancing Environmental Interests: The Paris Global Climate Agreement

Impacting Economic Consequences and Balancing Environmental Interests: The Paris Global Climate Agreement

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4131-8.ch003

Abstract

Now that the actual burdens and budget deficits of previous governments have been revealed and it is evident that certain relationships and obligations cannot realistically be sustained – in view of other allies whose powers have considerably been consolidated – economically and security-wise over the years, the present US administration enforces drastic and draconian unprecedented measures. Measures which even though could demonstrate that it had chosen to neglect its “model role” were nevertheless necessary in view of the severity of burdens it had overtaken over the years – and in view particularly of defense and national security expenditure. Will the gamble be worth it? Opting out of the Paris Global Climate Agreement may cement Trump's legacy – either as a President who took an environmental gamble and lost – or as a bold successor who eventually incorporated business skills in deriving a successful economic outcome.
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Introduction

The 2015 Paris Climate Summit Agreement witnessed a huge and significant step forward in its legal enforcement, on the 3rd September 2016, following its ratification by two leading parties to the Agreement (herein referred to as the Parties) – namely China and the United States of America. The ratification of the global agreement aimed at addressing climate change, took place at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, following announcements by President Obama and China's President Xi Jinping to ratify the Agreement – in a move which is widely regarded as symbolic – not only from the perspective of such ratification having been undertaken by the world’s two leading economies, but also owing to the fact that China and the United States contribute to 40% of the global carbon dioxide emissions – with China accounting for 25% and the United States accounting for 15%.1

The move is also significant from the perspective that, pursuant to Article 21 of the Paris Agreement:

The Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Hence the deal only comes into force legally following its formal ratification by at least 55 countries – which account for 55% of the world’s global greenhouse emissions.

Prior to China and the USA’s ratification, and according to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, 23 nations, had ratified the Agreement and their ratification had constituted just about 1.08% of the global emissions.

The Agreement, pursuant to Article 2, as embodied within – particularly with reference to Article 2 (a), (b) and (c) of Agreement, clearly highlights its objectives and goals aimed at the eradication of poverty, as well as a recognition of the need to adapt to adverse consequences and impacts of climate change:

In enhancing the implementation of the Convention, including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:

  • Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

  • Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and

  • Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

Even though the announcements to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement pave way for historical developments in the global fight to reduce carbon emissions, many critics have described the move as long overdue. However, in view of current global levels of greenhouse gases, the evident impacts of global warming on the environment – as well as current migration crises in Europe – which according to some, is partly attributed to the detrimental effects of global climate change, economic and other far-reaching consequences of ignoring the need to address present global climate and conditions, should weigh more heavily than criticisms related to current efforts aimed at addressing the problem. Rather than criticize those Parties which have recently ratified the Agreement, such countries should be lauded – whilst encouraging other Parties (who are yet to ratify the Agreement) to do the same.

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Background And Literature Review

However, climate agreements have not been without protests and controversies. In certain regions of the United States, and particularly the state of Virginia, there are hostile reactions to increased environmental standards which have contributed to coal mining industry closures – an essential industry which lies at the heart of many communities and the resulting job losses from free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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