Global Climate Change Treaty – GCCT

December 16, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

United Nations – COP 17, CMP 7, 2011 Durban, South Africa

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) guided 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) and 7th Session of the Conference / Meeting of the Parties on Kyoto Protocol hosted by sunny Durban, South Africa has taken incremental measure to set up Ad Hoc committee on Durban Platform for a global agreement by 2015.

Last COP 16 summit in Cancun, Mexico – consensus reached on the immediate recognition of the deteriorating global environment and nations with huge energy demands were requested to assume greater responsibility to avert the prevalent risk of global temperature above 3°C expected to rise between 3.5 – 4.0°C by 2100.

Accordingly, in Durban the emerging economies – China and India acceptance to a binding legal accord due by 2015 is noteworthy.

International binding agreement in early 2012 instead of 2015 could be prudent for global environment and economy considering severe weather conditions.

Juxtaposed United States identified as the second largest emitter is yet to oblige in cutting back carbon emissions required for the targeted goal below 1.5°C – critical for planet sustenance including island nations as well as least developed countries survival.

Similarly European Union unconditional commitment currently regarded inadequate could be aimed at 40 – 45% reduction for a meaningful trajectory in containing global warming.

Kyoto Protocol first commitment period i.e. 2008 – 2012 considered for renewal next year would be more effective upon elimination of land use, land use change and forestry credits (LULUCF) availed by industrialized and developing nations to offset higher percentage Green House Gas limitation.

The existing treaty with loopholes reverse the trend in carbon control and closing the surplus assigned amount units (AAU’s) would secure emission decrease allowing the target attainable within timeframe.

Further more unanimous ratification of the second commitment period 2013 – 2017 beginning with United States and other non-committal states is imperative to distribute burden linked to maximum pollution factor.

Other provisions in the treaty could be thoroughly reviewed and necessary amendments made for optimal benefit.

Scientific facts on emissions in relation to present policy continuation combined with United States, EU, Middle East and other nations ambiguous positions pose imminent danger to planet life.

The global emission projection for 2020 under same policies is 57 billion tons of greenhouse gas and the noted safe levels are below 40 billion tons globally to maintain lower than 1.5°C  – the absolute temperature for life support and nourishment.

Hence the excess 17 billion tons greenhouse gas removal by 2020 would rehabilitate life – the primary focus for world society.

Actions differed on emission mitigation by developed and developing nations generally mean increased costs and catastrophic damage to the environment.

Over 3°C warming under current practice has the following impact:

Rainforests depletion,

Arctic temperature rising from melting icecaps,

Ozone layer vulnerability and,

Coral reefs and oceanic life exposed to irreversible loss endangering ecosystem.

The financial commitments in adapting to rapid climate change with extreme weather  would be phenomenal and for least developed countries – a potential threat to existence.

Adverse economic effects on West Africa and South Asia alone is estimated around 3- 5% of combined GDP in the region even at 2°C warming and 5 -6% for the prevailing 3°C reading.

The costs would proportionately decline to lower warming temperature – neutralized at pre-industrial setting i.e. lower than 1.5°C.

Governments’ willingness for a global legal climate pact is a positive step forward in the recent Durban meeting.

Nonetheless, the outcome is devoid of ambitious plans in emissions restriction with no new pledges from the participants especially the prominent emitters engaged in expansive detrimental energy policy.

With options available to bridge the gap between contemporary passivity and result-oriented activity –

The developed or industrialized nations concerted action for 45% emission contraction against the present norm – 11-19% of which,

Various applied credits further degrades emission percentage to bare minimum diminishing the prospects for the safe upper limit in CO2 release – 1.5°C or 350 ppm (Parts Per Million).

Governments’ inaction or slower pace involvement would lead to faster degeneration of the fragile ecological equilibrium.

Developing nations with moderate economic growth could begin with 30 – 40% and gradually elevating to 45% emission constraints in semblance to developed nations category.

Island nations and least developed countries (LDC) would require financial and technical assistance to meet with environmental demands and responsibility in adhering to the specified range such as 20 – 40% and subsequently moving up to 45% in emission control.

Global monitoring by independent committee or non-profit organization tracking to ensure international collaboration would guarantee transparency and accountability on emission compliance.

Among diverse methods to decelerate global warming the hindrances to progress deserves attention with appropriate alternatives to resolve the burgeoning crises.

Energy policy – Industrialized and developing nations dependency on fossil fuel and nuclear power is predominantly responsible for the status quo.

Despite continuous cataclysmic events from –

Offshore and shallow water oil drilling,

Coal mining accidents and,

Nuclear power plant radiation leaks taking toll on human lives, economy and environment,

The economic and political leaderships remain defiant in heeding Mother Nature’s warning and inherent operational risks slighted for profits.

Industrial pollution with chemical deposits and carcinogens in wellspring and surroundings proved fatal affecting vulnerable demography.

International aviation and marine (shipping) CO2 emissions generate greenhouse gas at an alarming rate that needs to be curtailed yielding 1 billion tons in reaching the milestone.

Afforestation, national parks and rain forests are substantial in the conservation process

However, implementation without infringement upon aborigine lives and natural reserves would win unity – vital to expedite target achievement – 1.5°C or 350ppm.

Brazil and Indonesia response in this respect is praiseworthy.   The record maintenance and consistent improvement would deliver carbon neutrality.

Australia with pressure from politically active Green Party is environment conscious in the domestic front but,

Regrettably not reflected in trade practice with rising world markets – banning coal shipment to China and uranium supply to India would exemplify reliability.

Israel and China broadening investments in solar energy define the future in safe natural source.

Humanity’s common woes are political dysfunctionality, economic inequality, social injustice and environment degradation.

United States as the major polluter is on regression path in meeting environmental objectives with key congressional members determined to abolish environment protection agency (EPA) – the regulatory authority viewed a menace to fossil fuel industry.

The energy behemoths sponsored representatives aim at slashing funds for myriad environmental causes vigorously campaigning to drill, mine and nuclearize the delicate landscape.

Adjacently incessant warfare tied to economic gains under the pretext of spreading democracy with the so-called war on terror being the by-product is the principal cause for human suffering.

Wars in different parts of the world using depleted uranium, toxic chemicals, white phosphorous…has precipitated acid rain,

Not to mention the prolonged use of weaponry and explosives polluting air, water and land.

Unless and until wars desist creating an opportunity to rebuild nations,

Clean air and drinking water – the fundamental life sources remain increasingly scarce with unaffordable price tag for the vast majority.

With different industries and global organizations agenda dominating United Nations conference,

The significant world population input overshadowed during talks merely serving the powerful interests.

Efforts for financial aid to island nations and least developed countries (LDC) through Green Climate Fund (GCF) create a perception among global warming victims as Greed Corporate Fund.

Green Climate Fund proposal for $100 billion annually from industrialized nations viz. U.S, Israel, Japan, EU and developing economies like China, India, Brazil, and Russia,

Not withstanding oil rich regions – the Middle East are unclear in terms of individual contribution leading to uncertainties in the environment rescue plan.

Appropriating sizeable percentage of national GDP towards environment protection and enrichment including donations to global partners in dealing with growing climate problems would alleviate humanity plight.

Climate Fund Management is another contentious issue given the quantum for diverse disbursements urging fiscal and ethical responsibility.

Global monetary authority with regional representation selected by the people from autonomous functioning body known for efficiency and integrity in the respective domain rather than World Bank or IMF would meet the criteria.

The international commission subjected to external audit could be the impetus enhancing performance in the relevant activity.

It is imperative to address demographic grievances on a range of issues from technology, agriculture, REDD + Forest carbon ventures, Green economy to climate debt and justice.

Technology – Patented technology often more expensive than generic brand diluting competition in the market.

Technological impact in relevant context – social, cultural and environmental dimensions outweigh the anticipated outcome with profitability substituting viability.

Marketing technological tools – nanotechnology, geo-engineering technology and synthetic biology are evidently counterproductive exacerbating sea level elevation.

Agriculture – Agro-ecological solutions adapting to organic mechanisms against agrochemicals, genetic modification and climate smart agriculture proven overwhelmingly positive to the environment and farming community worldwide.

Likewise modifying Free Trade into Fair Trade Agreements,

Voiding Association Agreements and reassessment of Intellectual Property Rights to life enforcements on technological supplies would salvage struggling agro-based economies for self-sufficiency and greater productivity leading to commodity export.

REDD + Forest carbon ventures – Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation

The initiative from the coalition of rainforest nations with members Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea request to industrialized nations has been diametrically transformed with World Bank and UN interjected forest carbon projects.

The program is hostile to indigenous population and forest dependent segments.

It also violates individual rights along with massive displacements from native dwelling.

Not barring systemic destruction of biodiversity and cultural uniqueness inducing social discord.

Additionally, International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and European Union endorsement of REDD + jeopardize the purpose behind conservation and rainforests preservation with logging depleting natural resource.

Honoring indigenous groups, farmers and local citizens legitimate positions based on adversity from disguised business strategies is poignant for constructive course towards saving environment.

Green Economy Through economics guided profits and carbon markets facilitated lucrative financial investments,

The climate agreements have evolved into exploitative bonanza to transnational corporations represented by industrialized nations silencing the actual victims in the environmental deal.

Life matters – the concept ominously missing in the aggressive economic pursuits.

Commercializing survival elements that are freely and naturally provided confirms the profit motivated scheme superseding realistic environment goals.

Calamity anywhere is causative liability everywhere.

Climate Debt – Industrialized nations built on other sovereign nations’ wealth in the form of oil, coal and planet minerals arguably obligatory to repair, restore and rebuild environment via rigorous emission reduction, carnage compensation and finance developing countries transfer to clean energy system.

Enactment of valuable recommendations from World People’s Conference on Climate Change – Cochabamba, Bolivia in April 2010 comprising –

World People’s Referendum on Climate Change,

Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth and,

The establishment of a Climate Justice Tribunal –

Could advance and strengthen climate treaty in nurturing the precious environment – the only habitat for all species.

Optimistic new beginning lies with inhabitants crusade to stop air pollution, water contamination and land expropriation.

Please save the planet and celebrate life.

Peace on Earth and,

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant



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