Skip to main content

COP28: Key polluters paid lip service instead of action for low carbon future


By Gopal Krishna*
Some 24 members of the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) and 55 countries of the African Group (AG) comprising 54℅+17℅=71 ℅ of world population have been excluded from unjust 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This situation creates a compelling logic for adoption of the third commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol for post 2020 period because the 37 countries failed to comply with it with impunity.
The COP 26 negotiators suffers from poverty of imagination under the influence of corporations which have made nation states subservient to their naked lust for profit at any cost. These 37 countries played a notorious role in killing the Kyoto Protocol and replacing it with a non-binding treaty.
Let us recall how at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015, the Parties to the UNFCCC reached a voluntary agreement (Paris Agreement) to combat climate crisis. The Paris Agreement was framed pursuant to Washington Declaration that envisaged extinction of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) principle. Developing countries were made to agree to undermining of CBDR principle using donor’ influence over them.
The key polluters paid lip service instead of actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. The trend of insincerity continues to envelope COP26. The key polluters would like people to forget that they failed to meet the targets for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) that required them to reduce emissions of the six main greenhouse gases, namely, Carbon dioxide (CO2); Methane (CH4); Nitrous oxide (N2O); Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); Perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
Under the Protocol, limit was imposed on the maximum amount of emissions (measured as the equivalent in carbon dioxide) that a Party may emit over a commitment period in order to comply with its emissions target, country’s assigned amount. The individual targets for 36 countries included in Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period and their emissions targets included EU, US, Canada, Japan, Croatia, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Australia. US did not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. In December 2011, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol effective from December 2012.
The Protocol had extended the 1992 UNFCCC that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that (part one) global warming is occurring and (part two) that human-made CO2 emissions are driving it. The Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997. It had entered into force in February 2005.
As a consequence of the insincerity of the key polluters, the 36 countries global emissions increased by 32% from 1990 to 2010.
Their insincerity became more pronounced during the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020). The 37 countries that had binding targets included Australia, the European Union (and its then 28 member states, now 27), Belarus, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine did not put into legal force the targets under the second commitment period. Japan, New Zealand, and Russia did not take targets in the second commitment period. Canada had withdrawn from the Protocol in 2012 and USA did not ratify it.
In a stark demonstration of the dishonesty and insincerity of the 37 highly polluting countries, the Doha Amendment to Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period entered into force only 31 December 2020 on the expiry of second commitment period, making all talk of combating climate crisis by these 37 countries even under Paris Agreement totally untrustworthy.
In a clear illustration of how international law is just a declaration of pious intentions, Paris Agreement entered into force in November 2016 within 6 months of its adoption, prior to the entry of force of the second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. In effect, it is crystal clear that Washington Declaration was aimed at killing the Kyoto Protocol. There was no need for non-binding Paris Agreement, there was a requirement
 for adopting third commitment period of Kyoto Protocol for 37 countries.
It is high time for the G-79 (LDMC + AG) and G-77 (134 counties) to unsign the Paris Agreement, and demand amendment of the Kyoto Protocol for the third commitment period.
The Paris Agreement suffers from poverty of ambition to combat climate crisis. It must be realised that Paris Agreement cannot keep global temperature rise below 2° C above pre-industrial levels. It suffers from poverty of competence to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5° C. It will never make finance flows consistent with a low GHG emissions and climate-resilient pathway. Unless the entire focus is brought on the “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) of the 37 countries in pursuance the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, there cannot be climate justice.
It may be recalled that the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) that met for the first time along with COP 22 of UNFCCC in Marrakesh in November 2016 was as uninspiring as the COP21. It revealed that jargons like ‘climate neutrality’ are inconsequential.
The Paris Agreement is an exercise in linguistic sleight of hand with regard to binding commitments vis-a-vis economy-wide reduction targets.
It is increasingly evident that market-based approaches involving carbon pricing, monetisation and claims of transferal of mitigation outcomes are simply an exercise in fishing in the troubled waters.
The Warsaw International Mechanism, on a cooperative and facilitative basis with respect to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate crisis is an exercise in verbal gymnastics.
The Financial Mechanisms like the Green Climate Fund (GCF) do not serve the cause of combating climate crisis and international cooperation on climate-safe technology development and transfer.
The Paris Agreement’s transparency and accounting system must be seen in the context of right to anonymity extracted by the transnational investors.
No effort at combating “dangerous interference in the atmosphere”, the polite word for war on mother earth can succeed unless these efforts are conducted along side the efforts of the UN’s Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.
It may be recollected that at its 26th session, on 26 June 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 26/9 by which it decided “to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, whose mandate shall be to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.”
The open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) has had seven sessions so far. Ahead of the seventh session, the Permanent Mission of Ecuador, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the OEIGWG, released a third revised draft legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises. The third revised draft served as the basis for State-led negotiations during the seventh session, which took place from 25 to 29 October 2021.
In such a backdrop, G-79 and G-77 countries must act prior to the “global stocktake” and put in place the framework for the third commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol. These countries must combine their efforts with work underway for a binding treaty for regulating TNCs and other business enterprises for making them subservient to interest of climate and communities. There can be no climate solution without regulation of TNCs who have hijacked national governments in general and in the 37 countries in particular.
The proposed third commitment period of Kyoto Protocol under UNFCCC must factor in the role of weapon manufacturers including nuclear weapon owners who are the biggest polluters, they constitute an unacknowledged cause of climate crisis. In order to combat climate crisis, weapon owners and these 37 countries must be made to ratify the UN treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons which came into force from January 2021.

The author is a law and public policy researcher has been tracking and critiquing climate negotiations since 1999. Source: Toxics Watch

Comments

TRENDING

Constitution day makes us remember and rethink the values that India stands for

By Dr. Kapilendra Das*  India, also known as Bharat, was liberated from British rule and gained Independence on August 15, 1947. So every year on 15th August we celebrate Independence Day throughout the country. The Indians felt the taste of freedom, but there were no rules and regulations to govern the country for which British rules were effective up to January 25, 1950. To govern India, the draft constitution was prepared by the Drafting Committee which was published in January 1948, and the same was finally adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, the day of an important landmark in India’s journey as an independent, Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic. The constitution so adopted came into force on 26 January 1950. To memorize 26 January, every year we observe Republic Day throughout India. To mark rethinking and remembrance of the day of adoption of the constitution of India, 26 November has been celebrating as “Constituti

Seventh most vulnerable nation, effects of climate change can be seen in Bangladesh

Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan*  From November 6–18, 2022, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt is hosting the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This two-week climate conference is critical for the globe because it occurs at a time when nations are coping with a global energy crisis, the conflict in Ukraine, rising inflation rates, and dwindling funding for climate adaptation. It also has great significance for Bangladesh, as the country's ability to maintain its economic growth depends on raising the necessary finances for urgent climate action and mitigation. This year’s theme is "Delivering for People and the Planet," which aims to hasten global climate action by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, fostering resilience and preparing for climate change's unavoidable effects, and increasing the flow of climate finance to developing nations. The goals of COP27 are based on the outcomes of COP21, which was held in Paris in 2015

Unsung, tens of Morbi youth of local fishing community saved many, many lives

By Rajiv Shah  It was indeed a treat to listen to Bhavik Raja, who spoke at a meeting of the Movement for Secular Democracy the other day in Ahmedabad. Speaking in chaste Gujarati, Raja recalled his childhood days in Mobi when he and his friends would often go to the town's Jhulto Pul (Hanging Bridge) in free time. I listened to him online. The bridge, which should have been given a heritage status, was handed over to the owners of a watch-making tycoon for repair. The repair was carried out so shoddily that it broke down in less than a week after it was opened for general public, leading to the death of more than 140 persons, many of them children. Raja, who formed a group of three-person activists' team on a fact-finding mission to Mobi, said, what isn't taken note of is how tens of youth, belonging to the local Muslim fishing community, jumped into the river and saved many, many lives. It's a marshy river, and to navigate in there is an extremely difficult exercise.

Zakir Naik tumult, Catholic Church power abuse: will Anwar Ibrahim save Malaysia?

Anwar Ibrahim By Jay Ihsan*  Anwar Ibrahim, a hardcore reformist who took a punch to his eye in 1998 from then inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, has finally been given the mandate by Malaysians to serve as the nation's 10th prime minister. Anwar knows too well the burden of staying true to both trust and faith the people have in him requires every once of commitment and dedication. The question is will he be apologetic for his transgressions enroute to "rebuilding" Malaysia? In his overzealousness to get the job done, Anwar, 75, needs to safeguard every bit of gumption to address prickling issues plaguing the safety of the nation especially those involving communal sensitivities. For one, dare Anwar get rid of terrorist hate preacher and fugitive Zakir Naik for inciting religious unrest in Malaysia? In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, holding him responsible for promoting religious hatred and unlawful activi

Ukraine war revitalizes silent competition between China and Russia in Central Asia

By John P. Ruehl  At the recent Commonwealth for Independent States (CIS) summit held on October 14 in Astana, Kazakhstan, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon expressed previously inconceivable remarks. His public admonishment of Russian President Vladimir Putin to treat Central Asian states with more respect showed the growing confidence of Central Asian leaders amid Russia’s embroilment in Ukraine and China’s expanding regional influence. After coming under Russian imperial rule in the 18th and 19th centuries , five Central Asian states—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan— emerged independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. While these countries remained heavily dependent on Russia for security, economic, and diplomatic support, China saw an opportunity in their vast resources and potential to facilitate trade across Eurasia. Chinese-backed development and commerce increased after the Soviet collapse and expanded further after the launch of China’s Belt an

Adequate attention not paid on changing human life to realize climate change aim

By Bharat Dogra  Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. It has to be checked as a matter of highest priority. Despite this adequate attention has not been given to how human life must change to realize this objective. We know that fossil fuels must be phased out and replaced by renewable energy. But is renewable energy capable of meeting the present day massive energy requirements, along with the increase taking place? Even if it is, what are the implications if renewable energy has to be scaled up to this level, and at such gigantic level won’t renewable energy also have very adverse consequences, although of a different kind? Such questions make the situation more complicated, but these have to be faced. So let us try to approach the issue in a somewhat different way. Since the daily consumption of various goods and utilities involves the use of fossil fuels in various ways, if all excessive, wasteful and harmful consumption can be given up, this will also lead

Integrating biodiversity for poverty removal still not binding for this UN body

Reacting to a statement of the executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD ), United Nations, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which fell on October 17, well-known Thiruvananthapuram-based ecologist S Faizi has objected to the CBD’s plan for “effective integration of biodiversity for poverty eradication”. *** I compliment you for issuing this statement . However, I am disappointed to see that the CBD COP's output on poverty and biodiversity, namely the Chennai Guidance is not even referred to in your statement, particularly so since the 12th COP has asked the Executive Secretary to "continue the work requested by the Conference of the Parties in decisions X/6 and XI/22, for the effective integration of biodiversity for poverty eradication and development, taking into account also the related decisions of the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting" and to promote the Chennai

Much like earlier meetings, COP 27 fails to find real solution to overcome climate crisis

By NS Venkataraman* COP 27 in Egypt was organized with much fanfare and expectations, similar to COP 26 at Glasgow that was organised in 2021. While nothing significant was achieved in combating the climate crisis subsequent to the Glasgow Meet, one thought that COP 27 would be more productive and would find some real solutions to overcome the climate crisis. Leaders and representatives from most of the countries participated in the COP 27 including the President of USA, Prime Minister of UK and so many others. Cosmetic speeches were made by the leaders, committing themselves to save the world from global warming and noxious emissions. Finally, resolutions would be adopted after representatives of all countries put their heads together . With no tangible agreement about the fundamental issues, the resolutions would inevitably end up as face saving documents. During COP 27, the UAE President clearly said that the UAE would not reduce production of crude oil and natural gas. In t

Bangladesh to import diesel from India: Win-win situation amidst economic turmoil?

Kamal Uddin Mazumder*  Bangladesh and India had been sharing friendly and warm relations since 1971. Both of the countries have been kith and kin through crisis moments. Bangladesh has witnessed India’s support from the liberation war to the Covid-19 pandemic. As now the world is facing the repercussions of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war through the economic crisis and the energy crisis, India is still with Bangladesh through a cooperative framework. The government of Bangladesh had decided to cut down its fuel consumption to keep up with the global energy crisis. It was necessary to import fuel at the cheapest possible rate to mitigate the crisis. Some talks had been initiated with countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Brunei but India came forward first. The geographical proximity and the longest shared border had ushered multidimensional ways of cooperation and collaboration in many areas. The import of diesel from India through the pipeline is one of the prime example

Maldives migrants' death: Govt bodies haven't done enough for workers' safety, security

By Kirity Roy*  We have been notified by the media that a hazardous fire, which erupted in a cramped neighborhood of Maldivian capital Male, has killed 10 migrant workers including 9 Indians. We are much aggrieved by this incident, and sending our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. Many are missing. Almost half the population in the Maldivian capital constitutes of migrant workers, and out of them many are Indians. During the COVID-19 pandemic it was reported by many media outlets that due to the cramped and unsuitable living conditions, the disease spread more rapidly among the foreign workers than anywhere else in the country. This brought the light upon the serious housing problem for the migrant workers in the country. The current incident shows that the Government bodies have not done enough to ensure safety and security for the workers. While the United Nations have established the rights of the Migrant workers through the International Convention on the Prot