Paris Climate Agreement

by natgarrod on Novembre 7, 2016 - 12:15pm



The purpose of this article is to report on the progress that the United Nations is making regarding the agreements on climate change. These agreements hope to reduce the effects of global warming by setting emissions targets that must be achieved by a certain date. This article raises awareness about the issue of climate change and what developments are taking place to combat it which allows the public to decide if enough action is taking place. The main actors who are involved in this topic area is the UN, the government of the signatory countries, scientists who study climate change, policy makers, and the public. These actors are considered the most important because they have the power to control climate change. For example, the United Nations has the power to control environmental quality (power to pollute) by imposing targets which controls how much each country can pollute. As well, the governments involved in the agreements have the power to control discourse and ideas. Scientists create the idea regarding how we should treat the environment according to it’s carrying capacity and the government employs those ideas into the public transcript. The problem regarding climate change agreements is how long it takes the targets to go into effect, how to get the countries to actually reduce emissions, and if the reduction will actually have a positive impact on global warming. The reason some countries do not meet their targets is because the emissions reductions are not legally binding which means that the government lacks a strong incentive to comply with the targets. This means that the agreement relies on the public to monitor them and motivate them to transition to clean energy. This article does not present a solution to climate change, however many hope that the Paris agreement will foster change. The article proposes that the change must involve a reorientation of global public and private investment toward a low carbon economy. This agreement is known as a substantive policy instrument when is intended to directly target behaviour, this agreement is targeting emissions producing behaviour. I believe this article did a good job of presenting the facts without bias. It is very easy to romanticize the UN and their feat to reduce the effects of global warming, however this article did not. This article has accepted the reality of Cliamte Change and the possibility that the signatory countries will not reach the target and what that means for the rest of the world. This article clearly exemplifies how climate change is the ultimate wicked problem which means that the solutions to this are not correct or incorrect but rather better or worse (Roth, Lecture week 9). This means that the Paris agreement may create positive outcomes but it will not be able to solve every aspect of climate change. The issue is that stakeholders have different world views and different ways of understanding the problem. This can be seen in interest, behaviour and value conflict based conflict. For example, interest based conflict can be seem in agreements that decide who is paying for mitigation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, how do you adapt to the changes and who is going to pay for the damages such as polluted air and increased temperatures. Value based conflict can be seem in the challenge between development versus environmental protection. We all contributed to the problem of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere therefore we all have to pay for it. Much of the developed world created carbon dioxide in order to further development which is why developing countries do not think they should pay. As well, the developing countries did not get to benefit from the release of carbon dioxide yet they are subject to the negative effects. Finally, behaviour based conflict stems from a lack of trust between countries to accurately present their CO2 emissions. As well, there is a lack of financial contribution into the fund to stop climate change that the United Nations does not have a position of power. Finally, another issue regarding climate change that Dr. Roth has highlighted is that the effects of climate change are not evenly spaced out for each country. The scale of climate change effects everyone but in different ways and to different extents. For example, the arctic is most affect by high rates of warming, whereas sub-Sahara Africa is affected by increased frequency of drought, and reduced crop productivity. The article is missing a few key points, in order to get a better idea about the progress the UN is making towards their agreements the article could have talked more about the capacity for each country to create change. It will be interesting to find out the details of the agreement which will be addressed at the COP22 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco