HomeNewsOutcomes of the UN Conference (COP21) in Paris on climate change

On December 15, 2015, after two weeks of negotiations at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, the leadership of 196 countries around the world came to the approval of an agreement to take action to prevent detrimental climate change . The main points were the following:

  1. Keeping temperature rise within 1.5 C to avoid a global catastrophe. This will be achieved with the help of grants to developing countries for the development of environmentally friendly energy sources and the reduction of fossil fuels, the use of the latest technologies to reduce emissions into the atmosphere.
  2. Holding the government accountable for non-fulfillment of obligations. Virtually all developing countries have publicly provided their national contributions intended to reduce emissions over the next 20 years. This public announcement of commitments provides an opportunity for society around the world to influence the government and demand that it implement the promised measures.
  3. Central issues in climate change are air pollution and deforestation . Together with the World Health Organization, air pollution has been recognized as the cause of millions of deaths in developing countries. Thus, within the framework of national priorities, this issue should occupy one of the most important places. To protect the tropical regions, payments have been made to reduce air pollution from deforestation and forest degradation and stimulate new plantings.
  4. A deal was signed to support the development of renewable energy sources. The World Bank and the African and Asian Development Banks have signed an agreement to lend to low-carbon energy projects over the next 20 years. Even more money will be directed to the development of solar and wind energy and scientific research in this area, and funding for the development of fossil fuels will be reduced.
  5. From 2020, developed countries, with the support of some richer developing countries such as China and Singapore, will provide $100 billion a year to vulnerable countries to help them adapt to climate change. This number will increase as needed. Some of the money will come from the Green Climate Fund, which is half controlled by developing countries.

These were the positive aspects of the agreement. But there are also nuances that can overshadow people who are not indifferent to this problem. So, what should be feared:

  1. Inaccuracies in prescribing all obligations. While the Paris Agreement is legally binding, most of the details are not specified and allow for variation. Therefore, no one can force a country to do more than it wants. Also, there is no system of penalties for non-fulfillment of goals. The 70-year history of UN multilateral agreements suggests that countries will avoid their commitments if they can.
  2. A large spread in time, which may not give results. Countries do not name a specific time frame for reducing emissions, and the world is invariably moving into a 3-degree warming period, which could be a disaster for developing countries. To avoid this, rich countries must completely transform their energy generation and consumption policies and cut emissions to zero in the second half of the century. This agreement does not force anyone to take measures that exceed their own interests.
  3. Most agreements protect big businesses and destroy small ones. Many people are in great danger because they can be evicted from their territory or their rights violated in the interests of large corporations. The "green economy" proposed in the countries' agreement prioritizes carbon trading, a policy that is not accepted by peasants and small farmers around the world. All the money earned in this way is unlikely to go to the poor.
  4. Guarantees of USD 100 billion in annual payments to developing countries will come into force only in 2020. Action is needed today, and the climate may already have changed too dramatically by then. In addition, the concept of money allocated to countries in this way is not really defined - the countries have not agreed on how to count them, when and to whom exactly they need to be paid, what they should be directed to.
  5. There is no legal liability for rich countries to fail to help the poor in need of financial support due to a changing climate. The Kyoto agreement mentions liability, but it is voluntary and general, i.e. shared among all countries.

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Victoria Shurupova Victoria Shurupova

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