39,554 research outputs found

    How Europe can and should become the guardian of the Paris Agreement on climate change

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    Environmental issues have become one of the most salient topics on the political agenda. This is due to near-unanimous consensus amongst the scientific community that all types of environmental degradation, particularly the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere leading to climate change, represent a threat to life on Earth. Nonetheless, until recently, progress on finding political solutions to environmental problems has been remarkably slow. This is often linked to fears that environmental regulation may hamper economic development. Europe has always been an exception in this regard, as from the 1960s onward, it has gradually succeeded in enacting some of the most comprehensive environmental legislation in the world. All the while, Europe has maintained steady economic development, demonstrating that the two can be reconciled and are in fact mutually reinforcing. Since the 1990s, Europe has relied on this solid base to play a leading role in the emerging global climate regime. This has been critical in shaping the European Union’s identity and incipient foreign policy as a normative power engaged in multilateral diplomacy to shape the international agenda. Following decades of laborious negotiations, the international community finally reached a new accord to tackle climate change during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) held in Paris in 2015. The so-called ‘Paris Agreement’, signed by 195 countries, represents the most comprehensive and far-reaching climate accord ever achieved. Consequently, President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement in June 2017 sent shockwaves through the international community. How should the EU respond to this setback? This paper will provide recommendations on how Europe can and should become the guardian of the Paris Agreement. The first part of the paper will focus on the historical context of Europe’s role in climate diplomacy up to the Paris Agreement. The second section will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of EU and member state environmental policies, demonstrating how Europe is committed to lead by example, inciting further international climate action. The last section will examine how leading by example will provide Europe with the authority to position itself at the heart of the global climate regime, building a network of robust partnerships with countries around the world to compensate for US disengagement.Les questions environnementales sont devenues l'un des sujets les plus marquants de l'agenda politique. Cela est dĂ» Ă  un consensus quasi unanime parmi la communautĂ© scientifique, selon lequel les atteintes Ă  l'environnement reprĂ©sentent une menace pour la vie sur Terre, en particulier les gaz Ă  effet de serre (GES) rejetĂ©s dans l'atmosphĂšre, qui provoquent un dĂ©rĂšglement climatique. NĂ©anmoins, jusqu'Ă  rĂ©cemment, les progrĂšs vers des solutions politiques aux problĂšmes environnementaux ont Ă©tĂ© lents Ă  se mettre en place. Cela est souvent liĂ© aux craintes que la rĂ©glementation environnementale devienne un frein au dĂ©veloppement Ă©conomique. L'Europe a toujours constituĂ© une exception de ce point de vue. En effet, Ă  partir des annĂ©es 1960, elle a progressivement rĂ©ussi Ă  adopter une lĂ©gislation environnementale parmi les plus ambitieuses au monde. Or, dans le mĂȘme temps, elle a connu un dĂ©veloppement Ă©conomique stable, dĂ©montrant ainsi que les deux aspects sont compatibles et peuvent se renforcer mutuellement. Depuis les annĂ©es 1990, l'Europe s'est appuyĂ©e sur cette base solide pour jouer un rĂŽle de premier plan dans l’émergence du rĂ©gime climatique mondial. Cela a contribuĂ© Ă  façonner l'identitĂ© et la politique Ă©trangĂšre naissante de l'Union europĂ©enne (UE) en la positionnant comme puissance normative, utilisant une diplomatie multilatĂ©rale capable d’influer sur la politique internationale. AprĂšs des dĂ©cennies de nĂ©gociations laborieuses, la communautĂ© internationale est finalement parvenue Ă  un accord mondial pour lutter contre le changement climatique lors de la 21e ConfĂ©rence des Parties (COP) qui s'est tenue Ă  Paris en 2015. L'Accord de Paris, signĂ© par 195 pays, constitue le traitĂ© climatique le plus complet et le plus ambitieux jamais conclu. DĂšs lors, la dĂ©cision du prĂ©sident Trump d’en retirer les États-Unis en juin 2017 a provoquĂ© des ondes de choc Ă  travers la communautĂ© internationale. De quelle maniĂšre l'Union europĂ©enne devrait-elle rĂ©agir face Ă  ce recul? La premiĂšre partie de cette Ă©tude prĂ©sentera le contexte historique du rĂŽle de l’Europe dans les nĂ©gociations climatiques jusqu’à l’Accord de Paris. La seconde partie analysera les forces et les faiblesses des politiques climatiques de l’UE et de ses États membres, soulignant de quelle façon l’Europe doit montrer l’exemple dans ce domaine. La troisiĂšme partie abordera comment l’UE a le potentiel de se positionner au cƓur du rĂ©gime climatique mondial en construisant un rĂ©seau de partenariats avec des pays du monde entier pour compenser le retrait amĂ©ricain

    President Trump’s Unilateral Attempt to Cease All Implementation of the Paris Agreement and to Withdraw from It: Constitutional?

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    In his announcement, President Trump stated that he would comply with the withdrawal provision in the Paris Agreement. This Essay argues that, while compliance with that process may satisfy the treaty obligation, it probably does not conform to U.S. constitutional standards, and therefore, would not be binding on the United States. The argument demonstrating the failure of the President to satisfy constitutional standards proceeds as follows. Part I develops the context in which the Paris Agreement arose. Part II briefly summarizes the Paris Agreement. In Part III, I argue that President Trump’s attempt to cease implementation of the Paris Agreement and, in effect, withdraw from the treaty, does not meet U.S. standards required by the Constitution, specifically Article II, § 2, Clause 2.6 Finally, in Part IV, I consider the question posed in the title of this Essay and conclude that the answer is probably “no.” In addition, I discuss the destabilization to global governance that would result if the answer were “yes

    United States non-cooperation and the Paris agreement

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    In June 2017, the Trump administration decided to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, a landmark climate agreement adopted in 2015 by 195 nations. The exit of the US has not just raised concern that the US will miss its domestic emission reduction targets, but also that other parties to the Paris Agreement might backtrack on their initial pledges regarding emission reductions or financial contributions. Here we assess the magnitude of the threat that US non-cooperation poses to the Paris Agreement from an international relations perspective. We argue that US non-cooperation does not fundamentally alter US emissions, which are unlikely to rise even in the absence of new federal climate policies. Nor does it undermine nationally determined contributions under pledge and review, as the Paris Agreement has introduced a new logic of domestically driven climate policies and the cost of low-carbon technologies keeps falling. However, US non-participation in raising climate finance could raise high barriers to global climate cooperation in the future. Political strategies to mitigate these threats include direct engagement by climate leaders such as the European Union with key emerging economies, notably China and India, and domestic climate policies that furnish benefits to traditional opponents of ambitious climate policy

    The global carbon budget and the Paris agreement

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    Purpose–The main purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of global carbon budget (GCB) as akey concept that should be introduced as a reference when countries formulate their mitigation contributionsin the context of the Paris Agreement and in all the monitoring, reporting and verification processes that mustbe implemented according to the decisions of the Paris Summit.Design/methodology/approach–A method based on carbon budget accounting is used to analyze theintended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) submitted by the 15 countries that currently head theranking of global emissions. Moreover, these INDCs are analyzed and compared with each other. Sometimes,inadequate methodologies and a diverse level of ambition in the formulated targets are observed.Findings–It is found that the INDCs of those 15 countries alone imply the release into the atmosphere of 84per cent of the GCB for the period 2011-2030, and 40 per cent of the GCB available until the end of the century.Originality/value–This is thefirst time the INDCs of the top 15 emitters are analyzed. It is also thefirstanalysis made using the GCB approach. This paper suggests methodological changes in the way that thefuture NDCs might be formulated.Peer ReviewedPostprint (published version

    Exploring the financial and investment implications of the Paris Agreement

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    A global energy transition is underway. Limiting warming to 2°C (or less), as envisaged in the Paris Agreement, will require a major diversion of scheduled investments in the fossil-fuel industry and other high-carbon capital infrastructure towards renewables, energy efficiency, and other low or negative carbon technologies. The article explores the scale of climate finance and investment needs embodied in the Paris Agreement. It reveals that there is little clarity in the numbers from the plethora of sources (official and otherwise) on climate finance and investment. The article compares the US100billiontargetintheParisAgreementwitharangeofotherfinancialmetrics,suchasinvestment,incrementalinvestment,energyexpenditure,energysubsidies,andwelfarelosses.WhiletherelativelynarrowlydefinedclimatefinanceincludedintheUS100 billion target in the Paris Agreement with a range of other financial metrics, such as investment, incremental investment, energy expenditure, energy subsidies, and welfare losses. While the relatively narrowly defined climate finance included in the US100 billion figure is a fraction of the broader finance and investment needs of climate-change mitigation and adaptation, it is significant when compared to some estimates of the net incremental costs of decarbonization that take into account capital and operating cost savings. However, even if the annual US$100 billion materializes, achieving the much larger implied shifts in investment will require the enactment of long-term internationally coordinated policies, far more stringent than have yet been introduced.</i

    Remarks on the International Legal Character of the Paris Agreement

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    Climate-Energy Sinks and Sources: Paris Agreement and Dynamic Federalism

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    Pledging, Populism, and the Paris Agreement: The Paradox of a Management-Based Approach to Global Governance

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    For many observers, the Paris Agreement signaled a historic breakthrough in addressing the problem of global warming. In its basic design, however, the Agreement is far from novel. Its dependence on each nation’s self-determined pledge to reduce greenhouse gases mirrors the domestic policy strategy called management-based regulation—a flexible regulatory approach that has been used to address problems as varied as food safety and toxic air pollution. In this article, I connect insights from research on management-based regulation to the international governance of climate change. Unfortunately, management-based regulation’s track-record at the domestic level gives little reason to expect that the Paris Agreement will lead to major long-term behavioral change needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although a management-based regulatory strategy may have been the best option available for securing a widespread global climate agreement, this strategy seems to offer little assurance of forward momentum on climate policy due to an inherent paradox created by the Agreement’s management-based design: global progress will depend on domestic politics. Especially given the rise of nationalistic populism around the world, the Paris Agreement will succeed only if political efforts within individual countries push back the threat to global cooperation posed by populism and convince domestic leaders to support serious climate action

    The Struggle for Climate Justice in a Non‐Ideal World

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    Many agents have failed to comply with their responsibilities to take the action needed to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change. This pervasive noncompliance raises two questions of nonideal political theory. First, it raises the question of what agents should do when others do not discharge their climate responsibilities. (the Responsibility Question) In this paper I put forward four principles that we need to employ to answer the Responsibility Question (Sections II-V). I then illustrate my account, by outlining four kinds of action that should be undertaken (Section VI). Pervasive noncompliance also raises a second question: Given the lack of progress in combating climate change, should existing governance structures be maintained or changed (and if they should be changed, in what ways)? (the Governance Question). The paper briefly outlines a methodology for addressing this question and outlines what a nonideal response to the existing institutional structures would be (Section VII). It does so with reference to the Paris Agreement, and in particular the creation of a "global stocktake" (Article 14, Paris Agreement) and the "facilitative dialogue" (paragraph 20 of the ‘Adoption of the Paris Agreement’). The aim, then, is to set out an account of a nonideal theory of climate justice

    Transparency in the Paris Agreement

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    Establishing a credible and effective transparency system will be both crucial and challenging for the climate regime based on the pledge and review process established in the Paris Agreement. The Agreement provides for review of achievements under national pledges (Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs), but much of this information will become available only well after key steps in the launch of this latest attempt to control human influence on the climate. Still, in these early years, information and understanding of individual and collective performance, and of relative national burdens under the NDCs, will play an important role in the success or failure of the Agreement. However, because of the phasing of various steps in the 5-year cycles under the Agreement and the unavoidable delays of two or more years to produce and review government reports, the Climate Convention and other intergovernmental institutions are ill-suited to carry out timely analyses of progress. Consequently, in advance of formal procedures, academic and other non-governmental groups are going to provide analyses based on available data and their own methodologies. We explore this transparency challenge, using the MIT Economic Projection and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, to construct sample analyses, and consider ways that efforts outside official channels can make an effective contribution to the success of the Agreement.We gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this work provided by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change through a consortium of industrial and foundation sponsors and Federal awards, including the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science under DE-FG02-94ER61937 and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under XA-83600001-1. For a complete list of sponsors and the U.S. government funding sources, please visit http://globalchange.mit.edu/sponsors/all
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