The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was presented at the Economic Meeting of Aix-en-Provence during the day of July 8 with the main problem: Take charge of our future. It was presented more specifically in session 27: “What governance in a world shaken by climate change? “. This session addresses the refusal of the Paris Agreement by the United States and questions on “the governance of the problems induced by climate disruption” to adopt.
As part of this event, the following written contribution was communicated.
8th July, 2018
Author: Corinne Lepage
A THREEFOLD OBSERVATION
The climate change is turning the world upside down : the succession of extreme climatic events with its human tragedies and its astronomical costs, that is, according to the oceanic and atmospheric agency 306 billion dollars and according to the reinsurer Munich Re 330 billion dollars for the year 2017 i.e. a record of more than double the cost of the year 2016 or 1720 € per second, the rise in power of migrants with its political consequences, increasing feeding difficulties. But the world continues to increase its greenhouse gas emissions, despite increasingly alarming reports from climate and biodiversity scientists.
The observation is that global climate governance is relatively powerless
The current governance is powerless to respect and enforce the commitments made by the Paris Agreement, and we can only have the greatest concerns about the two processes that are due to end in 2018, namely the affirmation of the Rulebook on North-South cooperation mechanisms and the Talanoa dialogue to make a first blank assessment of the contributions of States within the framework of the Paris Agreement.
- First of all, the States that have been reluctant to define their INDCs (Intended Nationaly Determined Contribution) and especially at a level compatible with the third and a contrario, the climate emergency, are equally reluctant to reduce their emissions since global CO2 emissions should be limited to 42 Giga tonnes by 2030, almost 12 Gt more than current forecasts. Estimated at 41 Gt for the year 2017, CO2 emissions should reach 54 to 56 Gt by 2030, if nothing is done to change things. At the same time, the commitments made to Africa, particularly with regard to financing, i.e. a minimum of 100 billion per year from 2020, are not being met and the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement is very bad news in this respect.
- Secondly, the effects of climate change and the accelerated desertification that a suicidal policy of deforestation reinforced would justify an increased effort on adaptation policies. Thus, a vicious circle is set up, the powerlessness to fulfill the objectives of mitigation increasing the needs of adaptation policies.
- Third, and in contrast, the mobilization of civil society is growing in power thanks to multilateral cooperation on climate, through international cooperative initiatives (ICI) on climate which can, depending on the case, link public and/or private actors, and take any form. In this context, the agenda of solutions that brings together all these initiatives has led academics to talk about a groundswell surging on the world of climate action. In addition to these multiple cooperation frameworks, there is a dynamic between technical experts, institutions linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and linking it with the Sustainable Development Goals, thus addressing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement that establish a link between climate and sustainable development. Finally, the use of “Name and Shame” as “Name and Fame” is expected to play a growing role for all state actors or not.
This observation leads us to recognize that a profound transformation in governance is taking place
- First of all, we are witnessing a reversal of the pressure in favour of the fight against climate change, which is increasingly coming from civil society to the States and not the reverse, even if the States do not stop talking about mobilising their population. The position taken by American President Donald Trump, and the boomerang effect it has had on the part of certain federal states, starting with California, the major cities on the east coast of the United States and on the west coast and some very large companies, is a perfect illustration of this. The global awareness of citizens, perfectly reflected in the consensus conference organised in 2015 by the French National Commission for Public Debate, is also proof of this. It is now not only the first victims of climate change but also the economic interests that rely on transition and become the drivers of transformation.
- Real change takes place through new mechanisms that result from the global climate action agenda through international cooperation initiatives. The actions identified in the area of non-state actors for climate action are in particular cities and regions. Similarly, carbon finance and more generally the evolution of financial institutions is considerable. Improving transparency systems both in the reality of greenhouse gas emissions through the introduction of new technologies and in monitoring the effectiveness of the actions implemented is essential in this regard.
- Finally, the law is transformed doubly. On the one hand, with the emergence of texts and in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (DDHu) signed and supported by public entities including large cities as private entities (NGOs, companies) and institutions (universities, many bars around the world), and personalities starting with Mr. Ban Ki-moon. On the other hand, with a dazzling development of climate justice that creates a coalition between judge and civil society to compel states to act and to seek the main responsible for greenhouse gas emissions to make them contribute to the damage that they caused, especially on the basis of the Heede report.
Thus, while all the signals are red, this climate issue which concerns humanity like the other species is perhaps a great sign of hope for the reason and the instinct of conservation to prevail, establishing a global and local governance capable of responding to the challenges of the Anthropocene.