Difference between revisions of "DEVE"

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<big>'''Climate Justice: Keeping the right to development in mind, how can the EU exercise its soft power to ensure a global commitment to tackle climate change, whilst safeguarding the rights of those affected most by its consequences?
#REDIRECT [[Category:Heidelberg:DEVE]]
In August 2013 floods inundated up to one-fifth of Pakistan and affected an estimated 20 million people.<ref>"5 natural disasters that beg for climate action", retrieved from: https://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/5-natural-disasters-beg-climate-action#</ref> In 2014, at least 14 extreme weather events were caused by human-induced climate change, including a deadly snowstorm in Nepal and a heat wave in Argentina that crashed power supplies. <ref>"Half of Weather Disasters Linked to Climate Change", retrieved from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/151105-climate-weather-disasters-drought-storms/</ref> Climate change is affecting the life of millions, thereby threatening basic human rights. Coordinated and efficient International Cooperation are key to minimize human influence on climate, as well as to help developing countries - who are affected the most by climate change - to deal with the economical and social damage. How can the EU contribute to this global cause that calls for international solidarity and cooperation as never witnessed before in history?
<big>'''Relevance of the topic'''</big>
'''Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions''' have increased dramatically, primarily due to the use of fossil fuels, thus  causing an increase in Earth’s average temperature. The impact of this unprecedented warming – including floods, droughts, rising sea levels, spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever – are to be more severe and imminent than previously believed and threaten fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, water, food, shelter, work and self-determination. In fact, '''vulnerable groups''', including women - which account for 80% of global climate refugees -, children, disabled and indigenous peoples, are '''particularly at risk'''.
Sustainable Development is defined as the development that assists the '''needs of today''' without compromising the ability of the '''future generations''' to meet their needs. This definition is based on two key concepts – the '''needs''' of the poor and those who cannot provide for basic living standards by themselves; and the '''limitations''' to meet those needs as a result of the environment, the political and social circumstances, and technologic advances. Sustainability policies in the field of climate change need to be centred on the principles of equity and future justice.
The actual objective of the sustainable development concept is to achieve balanced economic, social and environmental development for both developed and developing countries. Therefore, it should be addressed as a global problem that includes more than just economic growth. The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) noted in its March 2009 study on climate change and human rights.<ref>[https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement], “Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights”, retrieved from: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement.</ref> that climate change can only be effectively addressed through '''international cooperation''', as it affects disproportionately poorer countries with the weakest ability to protect their citizens. It also highlites States’ obligations under international human rights law and the '''[[right to development]]''', proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) in the Declaration on the Right to Development, to protect individuals whose rights are affected by the impact of climate change or by policies that address climate change.
It is also important to take into account the '''historical responsibility''' that arises due to the disproportion of both GHG emissions, that are and were historically mostly emitted by developed countries; and the fact that most of the consequences are felt by developing nations. Even though climate change has a global impact and it will affect the lives of everyone, developing countries are mostly targeted because of differential factors such as income, race, class, gender, capital and political representation. Thus, following on the '''right to development''' arises the concept of '''[[climate justice]]''' and of '''common but differentiated responsibilities''', which is central to the climate change regime.
<big>'''Key Conflicts'''</big>
The idea that climate change is solely an environmental issue misses the bigger picture - '''climate change represents and perpetuates power imbalances across the world'''. The industrialised nations of the Global north emit about '''80%''' of global GHGs<ref>"Climate change is not just an environmental issue – it’s about justice", retrieved from: https://europa.eu/eyd2015/en/friends-earth-europe/posts/climate-change-human-rights</ref>, while developing nations from the Global south face the worst impacts. In fact, global warming poses a threat to the survival of some vulnerable southern countries - rising sea levels will contaminate the drinking water, damage the agriculture and infrastructure, and threaten biodiversity in the coastal areas, making them uninhabitable. It is even predicted that entire cities, such as Rotterdam and Sydney could flood. Similarly, some islands in Africa, Asia and South America are facing the risk of disappearing under water.<ref>"Sea-Level Rise and Impacts in Africa, 2000 to 2100. Application of the DIVA model to Africa.", retrieved from: https://www.weadapt.org/knowledge-base/economics-of-adaptation/impacts-of-sea-level-rise-in-africa</ref>
So, the debate centres on the obligation of industrialised states - due to '''historical responsibility''' - and international organisations to provide development assistance to developing countries and to invest in energy, proportionate to what they emit and use. On the one hand we have "the West", mainly responsible historically for emitting the most GHGs. Even though they share a set of common values, when it comes to climate justice, the ideas and policies of the EU and the USA vary widely. In 2015, USA's GHGs totaled 6,587 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents making it the second largest GHG’s emitter. <ref>Article “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks”, retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-sinks</ref> Moreover, the current Trump administration supports the fossil fuel industry and has recently '''dropped out of the Paris Agreement''', which could severely weaken the US’ environmental policy and thereby also the '''chances of mitigating the effects of climate change.'''
On the other side of the spectrum, developing countries '''lack the resources''' to address the environmental and social threat of climate change. Least developed countries are especially vulnerable, since their budget is stretched to meet '''basic needs''', such as access to food, water, and housing.
The current controversy also focuses on the process of globalisation, including the right and possibility of equal participation of developing countries in that process, and its relation to human rights. A number of big emitting emerging economies are reluctant to agree to a condition that they feel can hamper their economic growth and development.  However, '''the climate change will not be sufficiently addressed if only developed countries reduce their emissions'''. Developing countries, especially the most advanced ones, need to take a part too. For example, the four largest developing nations - '''Brazil, Russia, India and China''' (also called the '''BRIC’s''') - with a combined population of 3 billion people, will have a huge impact on the future of climate change. Also, among the '''southern countries''' we see significant differences when it comes to targeting climate change. For instance, the '''priorities''' of the Alliance of Small Island States are taking a different path to that of most of the least developed countries because they are most at risk of being affected by the rising sea levels. They demonstrated strong initiative in striving toward legally binding emissions targets and financing whereas the majority of '''least developed countries''' has been stuck in a rhetoric of '''mistrust and historical responsibility''' at the expense of negative-sum results.
[[File:Climateimpacts.jpg|thumb|Climate Change Impact in 2050]]
'''Evaluating the effectiveness of international cooperation in addressing climate change is a complex undertaking.''' From the one perspective, the fact that countries are implementing major international treaties on the topic on a global scale would suggest that they have sought to cooperate. however, as soon as the cooperation requires concrete '''solutions to the climate change problem''', it could be regarded as a failure of countries to effectively cooperate the fact that the predictions and the consequences of climate change are increasing in intensity.
[[File:Climate-Analytics.jpg|thumb|Average warming projected for 2100]]
Among the '''criticism made to the more recent Paris Agreement''' is the fact that the contribution that each individual country should make in order to achieve the worldwide goal is '''determined by all countries individually'''. Also, the country's emissions targets are '''not legally  binding''', unlike those of the Kyoto Protocol. Neither are punitive measures in place in case of non-compliance.<ref>Article “What Does the Paris Agreement Mean for Climate Resilience and Adaptation?“, retrieved from: http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/12/what-does-paris-agreement-mean-climate-resilience-and-adaptation</ref>  However, the '''regular review and submission of emission reduction targets will be binding''' and so too will the '''$100 billion fund from developed economies to help emerging and developing nations decarbonise their energy mix'''. The funding will have the ultimate goal of meaningful mitigation action and transparent implementation by developing countries.<ref>Article “Financing Adaptation”, retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/adaptation/financing_en</ref>
Nevertheless, predictions are still that '''temperature will rise 2,7ºC by 2100'''<ref>Article “COP21: What does the Paris climate agreement mean for me?”, retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35092127 </ref> even if all the Paris Agreement conditions are met, which calls for further measures. It also raises the question whether a global power shift in which fossil fuels would no longer be the cheaper fuel is the only way the global climate change threat could be tackled effectively.
When it comes to international aid to help those who suffer from the consequences of climate change, another problem emerges. The UN has recognised the category of '''environmental and climate refugees'''. In 2009, 36 million people were displaced by natural disasters. This number is predicted to rise to at least 50 million by 2050. In spite of that, environmental refugees are not protected by international law or asylum systems. The criteria by which refugees are classified is based on the  [http://www.unhcr.org/1951-refugee-convention.html 1951 Refugee Convention] and  defines a refugee as a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis “of race religion, nationality,” or “membership of a particular social or political group,” has fled their homeland. For this reason, '''climate refugees are generally denied protection under the existing international framework.'''<ref>"Climate Refugees: Exposing the Protection Gap in International Law", retrieved from: http://climate.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Kamali-Climate-Refugees.pdf</ref> Thus, international action towards '''broadening the scope of the term "refugee"''' seems like a logical solution to the protection gap.
'''<big>Measures in Place</big>'''
The '''[[UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development|UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development]]''' comprising a set of '''17 Sustainable Development Goals''' has entered into force in January 2016. It plans to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. To achieve this it has established a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Furthermore, three '''International Treaties to tackle climate change''' have been signed. The [[United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)]] has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the [[Kyoto Protocol]] and the [[Paris Agreement]]. The ultimate objective of the treaties is to stabilise GHG's concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will minimise dangerous human interference with the climate system - currently set in maintaining the temperature rise below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.
<ref>"United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change", retrieved from http://newsroom.unfccc.int/ )</ref>
The [[United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change|UNFCCC]] also has an operating entity of the financial mechanism on an ongoing basis - '''The Global Environment Facility'''. This entity also '''manages two special funds''' established by the Parties: the '''Special Climate Change Fund'''; and the '''Least Developed Country Fund'''.<ref>"The Global Environmental Facility", retrieved from: http://www.thegef.org/about-us</ref> The EU is the largest contributor of climate financing and it still aims to scale up climate financing with the goal of 20% of its budget being spent on climate action by 2020. <ref>Article “Financing Adaptation”, retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/adaptation/financing_en</ref>
In terms of international cooperation, the EU has set policies, legislation and initiatives for more efficient use of less polluting energy, cleaner and more balanced transport options, more environmentally friendly land-use and agriculture, more sustainable cities, more climate-resilient communities and fewer emissions from all sectors of our economy.<ref>"Adaptation to climate change", retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/adaptation_en</ref>
The EU development cooperation policy: the '''Agenda for Change''' pays particular attention to the energy sector for inclusive sustainable growth. It aims to improve access to affordable and sustainable energy, enhance energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy sources.<ref>"EU Communication on the Agenda for Change", retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/policies/european-development-policy/agenda-change_en</ref> It has also committed, in the global initiative '''[http://www.se4all.org/ Sustainable Energy for All]''', to helping provide 500 million people in developing countries with access to sustainable energy services by 2030. Furthermore, the EU launched the '''[http://www.gcca.eu/ Global Climate Change AlliancePlus (GCCA+)]''', a seven-year programme to help the world’s most vulnerable places tackle climate change.
[[File:Targets.png|thumb|Image 3 - Possible 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU]]
In terms of internal policy, the EU leaders have also established the [[2020 climate and energy package]] in 2007, that has become '''legally binding''' under EU law in 2009. This package is meant to ensure that the EU meets its 2020 targets for energy and climate targets - 20% cut in GHG’s emissions, 20% renewable energy in the EU and 20% energy efficiency improvement. <ref>"2020 climate & energy package", retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2020_en</ref> Building on the [[2020 climate and energy package]], the EU has also established the '''2030 climate and energy framework''' with the goal of approaching a low carbon economy - 40% cut in GHG’s emissions, 27% renewable energy in the EU and 27% energy efficiency improvement.
<ref>"2030 climate & energy framework", retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2030_en </ref>
The [[European Commission]] has developed the '''2050 low-carbon roadmap''', that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the EU to 80% below 1990 levels.<ref>"2050 low-carbon roadmap", retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2050_en</ref> The EU has set itself targets to put itself on the way to achieve the transformation towards a low-carbon economy as detailed in the '''2050 low-carbon roadmap''' through actions in all main sectors, concluding it is feasible and cost-effective in the long run, as long as innovation and investments are present.
It is crucial to define the EU's stance as well as the opportunities of using its '''soft power''' to influence a truly global matter. '''Soft power''' refers to the ability of making a stance and a change through '''talk, external policies, culture and political debate'''; opposite to the use of hard power - force, coercion and using money as means of persuasion. The EU is a major stakeholder in the climate justice issue and must represent the moral values that it defends throughout all the process.
The use of soft power sources, identified as “culture”, “political institutions” and “foreign policy”  becomes especially relevant when it comes to the BRICs. How can the '''EU influence''' these economic powers that are still now deciding between fossil fuels or clean energy and human rights or economic growth? We must also take into account that the path the BRIC’s choose now will also influence the future of  the countries that are going to be in the spotlight of development soon, such as Colombia, Nepal, Indonesia and the Balkan countries.
The '''EU’s stance''' on climate justice is that financial support to developing countries should be based on '''"low carbon development strategies"''' developed by them. These should set out which measures a country can take without additional financial and technical assistance. The [[European Commission]] also proposes that developed countries can contribute via the use of '''carbon crediting mechanisms and public funding'''. Public financial contributions should be based on emission levels and each country’s economic capability<ref>"Climate action", retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/cooperation_en</ref>.
In terms of International Cooperation, in order to achieve the [[UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development|UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development]] the first step is the '''mapping exercise of external policies'''. It also needs to identify the real gaps that exist between current external policies and the future ones. For this, the EU needs to make civil society organisations in third countries '''real partners in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.''' The [[European Commission]] has drafted a [http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/swd-key-european-actions-2030-agenda-sdgs-390-20161122_en.pdf document] establishing the '''priorities, policies, funds and other actions''' cover all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This document assures they provide a '''significant contribution''' to the implementation of the SDGs, both within the EU and through EU external action.
The supreme decision-making body of the [[United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)|UNFCCC]] - the '''[[Conference of the Parties|COP]]''' - has representantives of all the countries that are part of the Convention and is the biggest annual meeting to debate climate change. '''COP 22''' took place in 2016 and marked the transition from the main discussion being developing the [[Paris Agreement]] to how to better implement it. '''COP 23''' will take place in November 2018 and will for sure debate the best '''international approach''' to dealing with the opting out of the [[Paris Agreement]] by the United States of America and the '''future of the Agreement'''. What should the EU's stance be in COP 23?
'''<big>Other Important Stakeholders</big>'''
- [[Climate vulnerable countries]]
- [[G20]]
- [[International court of justice|International Court of Justice]]
- [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]]
- [[The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]]
- [[Sustainable Development Observatory]]
The planet's average surface temperature has risen 1.1 degrees Celsius and global sea level rose about 20 cm since the late 19th century.<ref>Article "Climate Change, hw do we know?", retrieved from: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/</ref> People are being forced to leave their homes, losing their lives and more and more human rights are being threatened due to climate change, especially minorities’.
How far can the EU impact the reality of climate change whilst other developed countries, like the USA, turn its back to their historical duties to the rest of the world? The EU-28 represents only 6,9% of the global population<ref>"The EU in the world - population", retrieved from: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/The_EU_in_the_world_-_population</ref> and therefore reducing its GHGs emissions can only help so far in the climate change fight. Whilst safeguarding the right to development is undoubtedly important, the road to climate justice calls for unprecedented international cooperation. The EU is in itself  the most successful international cooperation project in world history and has in many ways been striving for climate action. How can it use its soft powers to help mitigate climate change? What are the next steps to be taken to achieve a greener world?
Can the EU fight climate change within the existing framework?
Should the EU seek to achieve its climate goals through its other policies, e.g. international trade or human rights?
Can we set climate and energy targets for the technologies of the future?
What should the EU stance in the COP23 in Bonn in November 2017 be, taking into account the recent opt out of the [[Paris Agreement]] by the USA?
<big>'''Relevant Links'''</big>
- Article “Five ways to achieve climate justice”, retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jan/12/achieve-climate-justice-human-rights
- Article “COP21: What does the Paris climate agreement mean for me?”, retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35092127
- Article “Vulnerable nations call on G20 to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2020”, retrieved from: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/04/24/vulnerable-nations-call-g20-end-fossil-fuel-subsidies-2020/
- Article “Africa speaks up on climate change”, retrieved from: https://www.boell.de/de/node/270716
- Article “Climate change cooperation with non-EU countries”, retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/cooperation_en
- Article "How climate change battles are increasingly being fought, and won, in court", retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/08/how-climate-change-battles-are-increasingly-being-fought-and-won-in-court
- Article "Is a Successful Ecological Turnaround of Capitalism Possible?", retrieved from: https://www.boell.de/de/node/272493

Latest revision as of 22:19, 4 July 2017