THE PARIS CLI­MATE CHANGE PROM­ISE

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Wayne Kublals­ingh the Author­ity?

The Paris Agree­ment, the Cli­mate Change deal, is not really a deal at all. It is a prom­ise based on de­lay and de­fer­ral.

First, the na­tions of the world have not yet signed up. This is to be done on April 22nd, 2016 when there is to be a “sign­ing cer­e­mony”. Not ev­ery na­tion is obliged to sign. The prom­ise is only rat­i­fied when “at least 55 par­ties to the Con­ven­tion ac­count­ing in to­tal for at least an es­ti­mated 55% of the to­tal global green­house gas emis­sions have de­posited their in­stru­ments of rat­i­fi­ca­tion…”

Sec­ond, there is a gen­eral prom­ise to see that global tem­per­a­ture does not reach 2 de­grees Cel­sius above prein­dus­trial lev­els. They have pegged the ceil­ing at 1.5 de­grees. Hu­mans are ex­pected to gen­er­ate 55 gi­ga­tonnes of car­bon by 2025/2030. Paris wants it re­duced to 40 gi­ga­tonnes. Ex­perts have warned that cat­a­strophic cli­mate events could oc­cur if tem­per­a­tures rise to 3 de­grees above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els.

Third, the prom­ise is to hold in­di­vid­ual na­tions re­spon­si­ble and ac­count­able through “con­tri­bu­tions”. That is, each must list its con­tri­bu­tion to cli­mate change in the form of preven­tion, mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion mea­sures, which it is en­cour­aged to sub­mit to the sec­re­tariat; in the first in­stance, be­fore April next year, then pe­ri­od­i­cally, so that each na­tion’s con­tri­bu­tion may be mon­i­tored and pub­lished.

Fourth, an ad hoc work­ing group is to co­or­di­nate the prom­ise. Spe­cial teams have been named to raise US$100 bil­lion an­nu­ally to as­sist na­tions to mit­i­gate im­pacts and adapt; to ad­vise on re­new­able strate­gies; to pro­vide sup­port on tech­nol­ogy and ca­pac­ity build­ing.

Fifth, there is a prom­ise to ad­here to the ac­cords made at other well-known cli­mate con­fer­ences, for ex­am­ple at Dur­ban, Can­cun and Ky­oto; and a gen­eral dec­la­ra­tion to pro­tect forests and other car­bon sinks. To put it suc­cinctly, the prom­ise pussy­foots on global eco­log­i­cal, and there­fore, eco­nomic jus­tice. Big pol­luter na­tions have been let off the hook. They can weasel their way out of firm com­mit­ments us­ing the long-winded bu­reau­cratic am­bi­gu­i­ties in the doc­u­ment.

The peo­ple demon­strat­ing out­side the con­fer­ence halls had clearer, less bu­reau­cratic, less am­bigu­ous, and more straight­for­ward and ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions. But of course, they are not gov­ern­ment, and cer­tainly not the United Na­tions. Since the UN and its large pol­luter han­dlers con­tinue to fail global eco­nomic, so­cial and eco­log­i­cal cli­mate jus­tice, the peo­ple must con­tinue their work on the ground.

For ex­am­ple, com­mu­ni­ties from Chatham to Ch­aguara­mas have over the past twelve years smashed the state’s mas­ter plan to build ap­prox­i­mately thir­teen heavy gas-based in­dus­trial com­plexes, in­dus­trial es­tates, ports, and pipe­lines in its bid to mon­e­tize gas as­sets. If th­ese had been built, where would we have been get­ting gas to fire them? Trinidad and Tobago can no longer pro­duce oil and gas at glob­ally com­pet­i­tive rates. Ad­di­tion­ally, they would have pumped mega­tonnes of car­bon into the earth’s at­mos­phere. In short, the peo­ple, not the gov­ern­ment, have saved us from go­ing to hell in a co­conut shell.

But our new gov­ern­ment has its chance. It has its op­por­tu­nity to take a con­scious, pro­gres­sive and just stand. It must outdo its own expectations, the expectations of the pub­lic, and the lim­i­ta­tions of the Paris prom­ise. What will its list of con­tri­bu­tions to the new Paris Cli­mate Change prom­ise look like? Is it pre­pared to em­bark on a hor­ti­cul­tural drive to plant for­est, food crop and or­na­men­tal trees; to win back our food and drink econ­omy from our forex mer­chants, our bird/bat, but­ter­fly/bee pop­u­la­tions, our chil­dren’s health, the cli­mate?

Is it pre­pared to bust the de­struc­tive in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine/high­way terror trap; to cre­ate ef­fi­cient, low emis­sion, safe, eco­nom­i­cal mass tran­sit sys­tems?

Is it pre­pared to re­form the EMA Act, to free the EMA to use its bull­dog teeth fairly and eq­ui­tably, to stop the line min­is­ter from us­ing po­lit­i­cal clout to stymie the sci­en­tific process at

Is it pre­pared to keep a na­tional in­ven­tory of green­house gas emis­sions?

Is it, civil ser­vants, tech­nocrats, bu­reau­crats all, pre­pared to get over its ta­banca over the oil and gas based forex econ­omy and gen­uinely de­ploy our re­sources, di­ver­sify?

Is it is pre­pared to res­cue the eco­nomic, so­cial and eco­log­i­cal in­fras­truc­tural as­sets from the de­struc­tive Debe to Mon De­sir high­way; pre­serv­ing the Oropouche Wet­land man­grove, swamps, marsh­land, hy­drol­ogy to sink car­bon?

Is it pre­pared to abide by its man­i­festo prom­ise to act on the ba­sis of science and logic, and al­ter projects in­im­i­cal to the pub­lic in­ter­est; ob­vi­at­ing the po­ten­tial as­tro­nom­i­cal eco­nomic cost of mit­i­ga­tion, adap­ta­tion and fu­ture im­pacts?

Fi­nally, is it se­ri­ously preparing to in­vest in renewables?

United Na­tions Cli­mate Change chief Chris­tiana Figueres, left, UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon, French For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter and UN Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence in Paris pres­i­dent Lau­rent Fabius, and French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande cel­e­brate an agree­ment on cli­mate change. AP

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