Main Challenges Following the Key Decisions Made in COP21

Published: 2022-07-01
Main Challenges Following the Key Decisions Made in COP21
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Climate change
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1316 words
11 min read

Various key agreements were reached at the climate change conference in Paris in December 2015. The agreements contained the goals and the mechanisms through which the parties would respond to the climate change as well as the binding obligations of all parties. The COP21 is undeniably an outcome of the negotiation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and even proceeds beyond the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol only committed a small number of parties towards the reduction of the greenhouse gas emission. In this sense, the Paris Agreement creates a long-term objective of lowering the increase in the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (Aglietta et al. 2015). The goal to increase the adaptive abilities of the parties to the effects of the climate change is further included as well as making the finance flow consistent with the approaches used towards the greenhouse gas generation. While it is evident that the agreement specifies the goals and lays down the general procedures required to address the climate change, the details of its implementation still faces some enormous challenges that must be discussed and agreed by all the parties involved.

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Primarily, the finding common ground on the critical issues discussed contributes to the significant challenge (Aglietta et al. 2015). The UNFCCC process aims at managing the climate change as a public good that is available to all humanity through a global governance regime. This must be performed in the absence of the supranational institutions beyond the sovereign states. Contrary to the domestic governance, the Paris Agreement does not have a legitimate coercive power at the international level to ensure that it is implemented. The legal binding commitments, therefore, become insufficient leading to a counterproductive distraction of the real stakes that are involved.

The global climate governance regime can only be operational when it is enhanced through a multicultural, plurilateral and the bilateral negotiations as well as the consultations to allow each involved party to share its values as well as the visions (Aglietta et al. 2015). However, the agreement has failed to provide better clarification of the general responsibility notion which forms the centre through which its objectives are founded. As part of the cap and the approach to trade, the idea of international responsibility refers to the process of allocation of the surplus carbon budget among the parties under the CBDR and the RC principle. As stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol, this framework cannot be solved through a single process. Even after the application of the necessary tools, the COP21 approaches still confront the large uncertainties such as the average quantity of the emission control targets that should be obtained (Ji and Sha, 2015).

According to Ji and Sha (2015), a COP21 agreement was passed when a majority of the developing countries were still rising and undergoing tremendous socio-economic transitions. The deal, therefore, exposed the policy-makers and the investors within these nations to consider circumstances dominated by the qualms compared to their equivalent developed nations. It is therefore not reasonable to subject these nations towards making explicit commitments about the short and long-term emission trajectory to be achieved. Even if the negotiation is redesigned to establish the emission targets for the parties, it is evident that decision-makers from the developing may still impose a tremendous restriction to these uncertainties.

Being restricted by domestic capabilities and weak interfaces with the global governance system (e.g. in the areas of finance and trade), the emerging economies are interested in overcoming the path dependence which constrains their development choices through both domestic policies and an active search for a cooperative framework with the developed countries. These same constraints are also pertinent to other developing countries, the small island states, and LDCs, although their priorities differ. They are not pressured to adopt short- or midterm mitigation obligations, and their major task is to achieve sustainable development. Their immediate interest lies in enhancing their capacity to address the adverse impacts of climate change and to develop, in due time, capabilities to embark on low-carbon development pathways when their development arrives at the take-off stage.

Another critical challenge of the implementation of the essential issues of the COP21 is the fact that the developed and developing countries have different responsibilities concerning different finance, technology capability, and soft power (Lal, 2016). As part of the agreement, the developing nations proposed that they would ensure that the contributions of parties are perceived in a well broader perspective to represent the respective obligations they hold under the provisions of the COP21 (Lal, 2016). In this way, their contributions would not be restricted to only mitigation as viewed by the developed nations. The same arguments were observed bin Warsaw COP 2013 where the notion of the INDCs was coined. Despite the progress, the both the developed and the developing nations have demonstrated different perceptions on the component of the INDC (Lal, 2016). Majority of the developing countries believe that the INDC should have the reflection of the impact they are likely to have concerning finance and technology transfer. It implies that their contributions could involve mitigation as well as the adaptation reflected through their financial, technological and the capacity building needs.

Finally, the climate change challenges constitute a significant problem for the implementation of the COP21 important themes and issues (Ji and Sha, 2015). While the sustainability is crucial, jobs, as well as the poverty alleviation, are similarly vital. In this context, therefore, the development policy on the sustainable growth with equity must also integrate all sector development that works towards the alleviation of poverty. While it is evident that the prospects towards climate change are high, significant challenges remain in addressing the climate change, particularly within the development sectors involved in the generation of the considerable amounts of the greenhouse gases. These sectors include the industrial, energy, forestry, agricultural, water, and the marine. In the quest of fighting the climate change, research has shown that the policymakers and the elected officials face challenges throughout these sectors (Lal, 2016). The new solutions and agreements should, therefore, have the ability to define a new economic order that is established on responsible, ethical and the equitable relationships among different parties and stakeholders. In any case, the critical decisions and agreement at COP21 are not reached, the international community is likely to encounter a severe environmental decline that will not be impossible to reverse. The climate change will ultimately threaten both the development of capacity building as well as the global relations among nations.

The emerging diversity among the developing nations contributes another significant challenge associated with the critical decisions made at the Paris conference (Lal, 2016). Notably, the concepts of bifurcations and inventions in the development paths consider the differences observed among the developing nations that are party to the agreement. While the agreements make the approaches clear in addition to the roadmap, the kind of differentiation seen among the countries makes it difficult for them to achieve the desired goals. For instance, the countries such as China experience challenges when it comes to prioritising the COP21 agreements at the expense of the urbanisation and industrialisation processes with which it highly depends on. On the other hand, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) and other small island nations have limited development emissions and therefore require neither industrialisation nor urbanisation. As part of the 2015 agreement, therefore, the differences between the developing, developed and the least developed countries ought to have been taken into consideration (Lal, 2016). Undeniable, this would translate to different kinds of pledges on emission as well as the responsibility towards ensuring low. Based on the fact that they are restricted by their domestic capabilities as well as the weak interfaces with the global system of governance, the developing nations are fascinated in winning the path dependence which challenges their development options (Lal, 2016). As such, many would opt to focus on the domestic policies aimed at ensuring sustainable development rather than the decisions agreed upon at Paris.

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