A legally binding international treaty on climate change should be the ultimate target

Marrakech, Morocco hosted the22nd Conference of Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)-COP22 between 7th-18th November 2016. This conference also acted as the first session of the conference of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1), which entered into force on 4th November.

Several world leaders and state representatives recommitted themselves to the implementation of the Paris Agreement- a positive step in combating climate change. The remaining challenge though, is still the lack of an international legally binding mechanism to punish climate change defaulters.

The outcomes of the Paris Agreement were great but were non-binding and therefore not an international treaty. Countries voluntarily set their national targets for carbon emissions, a serious weakness, since it’s not an obligation.

Coal- the main source of human carbon emissions wasn’t properly addressed in the Paris Agreement and thus puts the planet at the mercy of the biggest polluters: Unites States, China and India, they have no legal obligation to stop doing so, it all depends on their will.

More to that, there was no agreement on including Carbon tax in the Paris agreement which would have impacted transporters and power suppliers to change their decisions and start limiting their carbon emissions.

The Marrakech summit was a positive step towards the implementation of the Paris agreement, world leaders recommitted themselves to take action on climate change and sustainable development, what remains to be seen are the tangible actions by individual states.

A legally binding international treaty on climate change should be the ultimate target for all concerned parties in order to seriously reduce global warming and safeguard our planet.

/Frank Habineza 

President, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

President, African Greens Federation

Honorary Doctorate in Democracy and Human Rights, Bethel collage, USA 

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