US Recantation from the Pleasures of Paris Agreement: Implications and Imperatives for Climate Human Rights

T
he technology of tectonic torment, oceanic oppression and climate contumacy of the world wolfs has inflicted indelible scars upon the climate. On the occasion of World Environment Day (WED) on June 05, 2017, We, the Nations of the World, got wedded with the climate contumacy of the US that has, ultimately, decimated the dreams and desires and had meted out the global grief to the humanity.

In 2015, at Paris---a city known for its pleasures---a utopia was created only to be destroyed later. The Paris Agreement has been regarded as the biggest step ever collectively accomplished by the global community to alleviate the catastrophic impact of climate change on the only planet blessed with essentials of sustainable human existence and survival. However, the history is replete with the instances of US recalcitrant behaviour in international commitments in the areas of preserving environmental ecology and human rights teleology. In this context, America cannot be great again on the decimation of lives of the people of 194 countries of the world in its quest for a Pyrrhic economic growth.

Since the inauguration of the Donald Trump’s presidency in the US, Paris Climate Change Agreement has been a political cynosure only for the wrong reasons. Consequently, US eccentricities after Kyoto Protocol were once again exposed in its latest recantation from Paris Agreement that was formulated as per its whims and megrims as a non-binding and non-penal agreement. It is an act of below the belt diplomacy and political hara-kiri that might derail the Climate Justice peregrination. Now, the comity of civilized nation-states sans US, Syria, and Nicaragua must ponder over the existing contours of the impugned agreement and recalibrate it as a binding pact for the posterity. Because future of 95% people of the world is greater than the 5% population that has adopted a policy of my way is high way deviant to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Climate Change has attained the proportions of an invisible but invincible war unless We, the Nations of the World, believe in the collective, cohesive and corroborative actions based on the global rule of law, global sovereign equality, global common good, global state transparency, global, national accountability and global massy reality. Thus, the climate change is an issue of human rights as it endangers the entire human survival.

The composite cultural heritage of humanity, rummaged and reviewed from the perspectives---socialist or capitalist, spiritualist or materialist, or biblical or individual---cogently convinces that in every human being, person and group there is an irreducible, irrevocable, inalienable, non-negotiable and non-derogable existence of a supreme spirit called “climate human rights” (CHRs). In the denial of CHRs, human dignity is decimated, human duty is divagated, and human civilization takes a step backward. The emblem of humanity on each occasion must fly full mast. The state forces fretting fraternity must be fumigated. The CHRs Odyssey has many vulpine visions, adroit adventures and indentured indulgences and the same has been displayed by the Trump regime. Today, context, content, and currents of CHRs juri-science are pervading all the nationalities beyond its past, present, and future and are on the path of perennial permutation to the World Wide Web of social behavaiour deviant to a confluence of contradictions, conflicts, and clashes. The CHRs jurisprudence sans human hierarchy is the transnational trajectory of understanding climate change.

The human heritage of vintage vision, ancient ancestry, and pristine pursuits must be the congregate of the humanity while understanding the CHRs seriously beyond the future. The classical and contemporary chaos in the cosmos of humanity is escalating at a pace never witnessed before. The concept of CHRs has a history marked by the philosophical paradoxes, political pontifications, and geostrategic considerations. Knowing that history and understanding those paradoxes is the international itinerary which illuminates the state of CHRs today. The global grief springs from the globalization is a complex and controversial phenomenon that ramified, rankled and revisited the concept of CHRs. One of the few certainties is that understanding CHRs seriously will be essential to understanding the world that we live in with the threat to the climate for all times to come.

There are specific terminologies which denote the different stages of climate talks traversing to address the adverse impacts of climate change. Therefore, COP-21 stands for the Conference of the Parties that has been representing the countries who have signed and participated up to the 1992 UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). The COP in Paris is the 21st such conference and known as the Paris Agreement and in French as Accord de Paris within the UNFCCC addressing the climate change issues like greenhouse gases emissions, mitigation, adaptation, and finance commencing in the year 2020. But President Trump has always adopted an exclusivist agenda deviant to the international consensus and priorities. Trump’s anti-climate change policies are based on promoting the exploitation and mining of domestic natural resources such as fossil fuel and coal. Trump has issued an executive order in March 2017 whereunder all rules and regulations prohibiting such expropriations were amended, diluted, and weakened. Moreover, the disputed order has rejected the global standards of carbon pollution in the energy sector and created the impediments for implementing the plans of clean energy, which were directed to mitigate the of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power plants. US recantation from the Paris Climate Change Agreement has meted out a colossal yank to the minimalist initiatives made by the Obama administration. Even before the issuing the controversial order, Trump administration has already cut the grants in the US Federal Budget of all the key programmes for mitigation of Greenhouse Gases emissions. Moreover, all scientific research programmes relating to the climate change studies were also cut to size inter-alia winding up of GCF (Green Climate Fund) and closing the funding the UNFCCC bodies. Primarily, the GCF was created to help and facilitate the developing countries in their fight against the mounting menace of climate change. The US denial and its withdrawal from the COP-21arrangement amount to the betrayal and barbarity having obvious implications for rest of the international community. Therefore, remaining countries should re-calibrate and re-cast COP-21 Agreement and sideline the US in their quest for an equitable global order.

Primarily, COP-21 agreement was envisaged and prepared US lines exclusively as it was, initially, not keen to fulfill all the obligations and it was not ready to attend its part of the problem of climate change. Thus, US have sponsored an agreement that has stipulated minimum responsibility and US has also promised most minimum threshold of emission mitigation. Moreover, US assured the international community to reduce 26-28 percent emissions and bring back the existing emissions levels to the levels of 2005 by the year 2025. But, even if the year 1990 is considered the baseline, then the US would be able to reduce its emissions levels only 13-15 percent by the year 2025, and by the year 2030, it would reduce only 23-27 percent of emissions. However, EU would reduce only 40 percent emissions to the levels of 1990 by the year 2030 because Obama Administration was not keen to get Paris Climate Change Agreement passed by the US Congress. Therefore, Paris agreement has been envisioned and prepared as a voluntary, non-binding, and non-penal arrangement. The US cannot come out of the Paris Agreement by calling it unreasonable and against interests of America. It is, indeed, the fallible and fallacious argument that has undermined the convictions and commitments of 194 countries of the world. These countries had accommodated the flawed and cynical concerns of the US with the only hope that the US would fulfill its obligations under the impugned agreement.

It is, now, axiomatic that the COP-21 Agreement cannot achieve its targets without the full participation of the US Government. It must not be ignored that the US has hugely polluted the environment with impunity. The US is responsible for contributing 21 percent pollution out of the total CO2 in the environment. Presently, the US is the second biggest polluter country in the world and regarding emissions as per capita income it the first country. Therefore, till the US bears its responsibility of achieving its part of emissions targets, then rest of the countries would not be able to accomplish the Paris objectives.

The COP-21 Agreement has been founded on the principle of “upward mobility” accomplishment of mitigation targets of emissions as the treaty forges ahead. It was the central argument that convinced the developing countries to be privy to the Paris Agreement. Now, Trump administration wants to re-calibrate the contours of its contributions under the censured agreement that fundamentally annihilates the core principle of the Paris understanding. Thus, any tinkering with the existing orientation of the COP-21 agreement would destine to make the life of the planet earth dangerous and destructive for sustainable survival in years ahead. The COP-21 agreement has made fiscal provisions whereunder the developed countries have to grant $100 billion to developing countries along with the transfer of technology and other incidental supports to it. But, unfortunately, the US has disturbed the entire roadmap of addressing the dangerous repercussions of climate change with its withdrawal at this juncture. Ultimately, with the US repudiation of this agreement, the developing world must come forward to have a new arrangement excluding the US. Trump regime is impregnated with many obtuse perceptions relating to the developing countries, and President Donald Trump has to make a discernible choice between perception-based governance and policy-based governance. Now, the time has come for the developing countries to ponder over how to attend international challenges in some fields by minimizing their dependence on the US. The humanity of 194 countries and their CHRs cannot be treated as a pawn in the hands of the US and at the altar of its so-called interests.

Dr. Nafees Ahmad

Ph. D., LL.M. Author teaches at the Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University (An International University Established by the Eights SAARC Nations)-New Delhi, author is an Indian national who holds a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in International Refugee Law and Human Rights. Author writes on International Forced & Irregular Migrations, Human Displacement, Climate-Change Refugees, Refugee Studies, Asylum Policies, Human Trafficking in Refugees and Migrants, Durable Solutions, Diplomacy, International Relations, Extradition and SAARC Issues. Author has conducted research on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Jammu & Kashmir and North-East Region in India and has worked with several research scholars from US, UK and India and consulted with several research institutions and NGO’s in the area of human displacement and forced migration. Dr. Ahmad has introduced a new Program called Comparative Constitutional Law of SAARC Nations for LLM along with International Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and International Refugee Law.  Author has been serving since 2010 as Senior Visiting Faculty to World Learning (WL)-India under the India-Health and Human Rights Program organized by the World Learning, 1 Kipling Road, Brattleboro VT-05302, USA for Fall & Spring Semesters Batches of US Students by its School for International Training (SIT Study Abroad) in New Delhi-INDIA nafeestarana[at]gmail.com,   drnafeesahmad[at]sau.ac.in

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