Expanding COP21 INDCs to Include Non-National Contributions
8 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 2, 2015
Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the European Environmental Law Association International Conference on Climate Justice, Oct. 2-3, 2015. The Paris COP21 Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change cannot be allowed to fail. Time is running out for the world to take effective action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions that threaten the future of life on our planet. The scientific community has found that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be reduced to 450 ppm, and many think 350 ppm, by 2050. However, The United Nations’ IPCCC in 20 Conferences of the Parties (COPs) has failed to come up with national government commitments that come anywhere near achieving that goal.
The consequences of failure to reach agreement in December are frightening to consider. In terms of environmental justice, it is clear that those hurt the most will be poor people everywhere and the less developed nations where the people cannot afford to relocate and the governments cannot afford adaptation measures. Many island nations will become totally uninhabitable, as will the low lying waterfront areas of all nations where the majority of populations worldwide are located. The problems with immigration being experienced by Europe and the U.S. now are nothing compared with the flood of millions of climate refugees everywhere when the oceans’ rise will make large areas uninhabitable.
Thus, environmental justice urgently requires that the COP21 conference succeed, and do so in a way to maximize help to the least develop countries, not only to support adaptation measures and permit participation in climate change mitigation (necessary albeit that they have contributed almost nothing to the problem) but more importantly, help them to do so in ways that assist their economic development.
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