The Effects of Plastics on Climate Change: An Analysis of the Potential Responses within the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
Luísa Cortat Simonetti Gonçalves, The Effects of Plastics on Climate Change: An Analysis of the Potential Responses within the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Yearbook of International Environmental Law, 2021; yvab001, https://doi.org/10.1093/yiel/yvab001
Posted: 8 Oct 2021
Date Written: 2021
The threats posed by plastics to nature and human health are increasingly gaining the attention of the general public and of scientists. Its negative effects on climate change, however, are still neglected and just recently scientific data started to demonstrate such interconnection. Considering that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is currently the main international path to address climate change, and considering the latest developments through the use of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), this paper analyzes to what extent the NDCs reflect the interconnection between plastic pollution and climate change. Despite the novelty of the subject, it could be indirectly present in those documents because of the relationship between plastics and other subjects that are long-known for their impact on climate change, such as the use of oil, emissions by factories, waste management, and marine conservation. Those are the aspects derived from the paper’s description of the synergies between plastics and climate, and that are searched for in the NDCs. Cross-referencing the five aspects allowed to demonstrate that the extent to which the NDCs address the plastic problem is still very narrow, and, apart from the treatment for plastic waste, still virtually inexistent within the countries whose actions could be the most impactful. Therefore, the paper argues that there the gaps that could be filled in the NDCs in a crucial moment, when countries are supposed to be submitting their new and bolder NDCs.
Keywords: plastics, climate change, NDCs, UNFCCC
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