24 November 2015
All eyes are on Paris where world leaders will meet for the much anticipated 2015 climate change conference. They are expected to reach a consensus on a legally-binding climate agreement for all countries that will come into force in 2020. But history has taught us that political commitment is sorely lacking; will we see another collapse of the climate talks?
In 2009, delegates from various Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), non-governmental organisations and regional organisations huddled together in the winter cold in Copenhagen, in what was heralded as a major climate meeting that would bring the world towards a legally-binding agreement on emission reductions. Talks hit a roadblock until the heads of states of the United States, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, cobbled together a last-minute political agreement, now known as the Copenhagen Accords. The accord was not adopted as all Parties were unable to reach a consensus.
As the 2015 deadline for the global climate agreement neared, there was hope that momentum would encourage international consensus on commitments of emission reductions by all Parties in Warsaw in 2013. Yet, again, the climate negotiations proved to be an endless arena of horse trading. Finally, Parties agreed to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by 2015 – far short of a legally-binding commitment. The annual climate meeting (COP21) will be held in Paris starting next week (30 Nov-11 Dec) and the expectations are even higher than in Copenhagen. Will the climate agreement in Paris be a game changer, or will we see a repeat of Copenhagen and Warsaw?
… Goh Tian is an Associate Research Fellow with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 03/12/2015