Paris Climate Agreement

On June 1st, 2017, President Donald Drumpf announced that he would pull the United States of America out of the Paris Agreement. While we wait for further development and try to come to terms with the implications of these actions, let’s take a moment to look back at the origins of the agreement.

In June of 1992, there was a major United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro that many may know as the Earth Summit. The results of the conference included three documents and three agreements opened for signatures:

Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
Agenda 21
Forest Principles

Binding Agreements (aka the Rio Convention):
Convention on Biological Diversity
Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed by 154 nations that would go on to be known as the Parties. The yearly meetings are called the Conference of Parties (COP), and there have been 22. The focus of the UNFCCC in 1992 called for the

“…stabilization of greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Paris, France. It was here that the Paris Agreement was finalized, and on April 22, 2016, was signed by 174 countries. The understanding is that countries will do what they need to do in order to at least:

  1. Mitigate greenhouse gases to the best of their ability by 2020
  2. Keep the global average temperature to “well below 2-degrees C above pre-industrial levels”

However, the Paris agreement was signed voluntarily and it’s not all binding. Additionally, accountability really just amounts to using social pressure.

According to BradCast with Brad Friedman, a country may leave the agreement by following one of two options:

  • “Under the terms of the Paris agreement, no one can exit until three years into the agreement…” which means that the official announcement cannot happen until November of 2019. A country has to then wait a year before officially leaving, which just so happens to coincide with the United States’ 2020 presidential election.
  • The quick path to leaving is to withdraw from the entire 1992 treaty, which was ratified by the United States Senate, which means that one would need permission from the Senate in order to leave.

Make sure to stay tuned to your local, community radio station to get the facts, sincere thought and the latest developments on this stories. We are the folks that will dive into these smelly stories because we need the people to be armed critical thinking skills and facts. You can make it clear to Drumpf and his administration that community radio will always be there to both inform and give space to speak by giving to your community radio station. Give your time by volunteering and give financial support to Pacifica Radio.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – 1992

Framework Convention on Climate Change – Conference of the Parties – 21 Session