Paris Agreement- Success or Failure? – Amalen

Celebrating with Cristianna Figueres after the adoption of the text

Celebrating with Cristianna Figueres after the adoption of the text

The Paris agreement a historical moment where for the first time a legally binding agreement on climate change which involves all countries . A big hurrah for that. I mean let me explain the situation, during the final minutes, I noticed something odd, they were withholding info from everyone in regards to the text the whole day and during the morning speech on the 15th day of COP21.

The ‘Fabulous Fabius’ speech which was given by the president of COP21 notified that the deal was made when no one had actually reached a final consensus, I mean we hadn’t seen a final text and we knew the negotiations were not over, so what was going on? When a text was finally released I went around to several negotiating groups after they had run it over with their teams they all agreed that it was optimistic and that although they weren’t the happiest about it, they didn’t disagree with it which was good news!

Selfie rampage while waiting for the last minute huddles to be done.

Selfie rampage while waiting for the last minute huddles to be done.

Right before the last round of negotiations before the text was to be adopted by Committee du Paris,and then by COP, a last round of huddles broke apart. We waited for up to an hour for all this to end. When they finally begun legal and linguistic experts had something to say about some errors that came about. Then another chap mentioned some technical issues such as language in several articles. Just like that one crucial word was changed forever. There was a flurry of motions and next thing you know it the agreement was adopted, the gavel was struck and No one had a chance to react to what had just happened.

The huddles being shown on screen for viewing areas to see

The huddles being shown on screen for viewing areas to see

I saw a big flaw in the final text ,when it was finally released which led me to believe that there is something wrong with this agreement, the switch of the word ’Shall‘ to ‘Should’ in article four in concerns to whether developed countries should or shall reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This I feel didn’t make things as pressured onto the developed countries as they should be, we the developing countries should be given our right to develop and with that comes pollution but hey we should have our turn and is our right to come onto equal playing field with other developed countries but with this shall and should issue it becomes more of a goodwill situation, if I feel good hearted-then and only then shall I do something. This is ridiculous and I was perplexed why some countries did not voice this out. I couldn’t be the only one now could I?

After the end of the closing ceremony and final session of COP21, it dawned on me on the politics and bureaucracy that silenced many developing nations and prevented them from voicing out. Firstly, in the way the media puts it out, this is a historical event, we are finally getting a universal legally binding agreement on climate change and whoever objects whether for reasons good or bad would be vilified and no country wants that. Who would want to be the one country that postponed this agreement?

Other smaller countries who would be mostly affected by this, developing nations of course, could not say much after big countries like India and China had spoken in agreement to this new last minute changes in the text. If these big powers in the developing nations blocks says ok with all their wealth and power, how can the smaller nations who depends on these big voices go against them. They are small for a reason, they do not have the sway and power that these nations control. Also when countries who have vehemently been fighting against the process in the past,such as Venezuela finally agree to something as big as this like submitting their INDC all other hope is loss, even the big nay sayers have agreed. No one but Nicaragua spoke up but even then they were completely ignored by all.

I wouldn’t say this agreement is a failure, like I said earlier it has its ups and downs. There are tremendous strides in adaptation and loss and damage that are addressed in this test as well as the mention of 1.5 degree celcious in the article for accepted temperature increment. We finally have a legal document that we can hold our countries accountable to. There are flaws in this agreement but we can persevere and work on this to get what we need for a more just and sustainable future.

Do have a look at the text yourself and tell us what you think. Good or bad? Positive or not?
http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf

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