The Climate, Lima to Paris: a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities is more urgent than ever
Par Pierre Calame le vendredi 13 novembre 2015, 16:43 - Lien permanent
Although there is much talk about a binding agreement, this was already the case twenty years ago. And we know what the result is when there is no solid legal foundation on which to make countries, governments and companies accountable when they fail to respect their “commitments”.
In December 2014, Latin American civic organisations presented the Lima to Paris Manifesto at COP20.
It warned of the limitations of the negotiations that were supposed to result in a general binding agreement in Paris, which would ensure an increase in global temperatures would remain under 2°C by the end of the century.
It highlighted the inadequacy of handing down the negotiations to Ministers of Foreign Affairs on an issue that is in fact extremely “domestic”, staging a divergence in national interests where the climate issue, which is of importance to each and every one of us, both in our own lives and in those of our families, should represent a decisive step in gaining consciousness of a human community united by a common destiny.
It highlighted the urgent need to put an end to our “society of unlimited irresponsibility” and clearly outlined the principles of a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, resulting in changes to international law, which should be urgently adopted by the international community.
It made note of the fact that there is no lawyer to defend the integrity of the planet or of the climate, nor is there a court of law in which to plead their cause.
A year later, a certain amount of headway has been made. Heads of State have themselves taken action and agreed to address the climate challenge as a common cause. All countries are now involved in the negotiation process and most of them have stated their commitments.
There has been progress in exploring the notion of a universally-applicable national GHG emission quota system, as there is now an official discussion with China on the subject. By mentioning the need for Charter of Rights for Humanity, and the implied obligations for societies, François Hollande is taking a step towards a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities.
Yet the proposals that the attached Manifesto put forward are more pertinent than ever. Although there is much talk about a binding agreement, this was already the case twenty years ago. And we know what the result is when there is no solid legal foundation on which to make countries, governments and companies accountable when they fail to respect their “commitments”.
Establishing a quota system on a global, national and regional scale has not yet resulted in the next logical step: the creation of an “energy currency”. This is the only way to disconnect energy consumption from growth based on well-being. Without such a decoupling, the claim that it is possible to protect the climate while pursuing intense economic growth will remain schizophrenic.
The final phase of negotiations before COP21 in Bonn revealed that governments were more divided than ever. The addition of “voluntary national commitments” will be, as the UN itself acknowledges, far from sufficient in keeping keeping global warming under 2°C by the end of the century.
Although the French President's initiative to propose a Charter of Rights for Humanity is honorable, in mentioning the moral obligations of our societies, this initiative is no substitute for the absence of a genuine responsibility law that would effectively ensure these obligations are respected. Without a global tax on fossil fuels applied at the source, no headway can be made in negotiations on providing financial support to developing countries for pursuing another development model.
I am wholeheartedly committed to the attached Manifesto, which I would like to share with you. Please join the appeal for a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, the proposal of which is also attached.