The Cop 21, Paris Agreement on climate change will enter into force today; 30 days after the required minimum of States (55) ratified the convention.
For the agreement to be entered into force and be legally binding at least 55 countries, which account for 55 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, must ratify or approve the agreement through their own domestic legal systems.
This commitment supports Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 (Climate Actions) and 12 others that include targets addressing climate change. The expected key result of the agreement is to set a goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. The agreement also calls for zero net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to be reached during the second half of the 21st century.
Parties to the agreement will also pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The 1.5 degrees Celsius goal will require zero emissions sometime between 2030 and 2050.
Guyana, among hundreds of other countries, had signed the 2015 agreement which was crafted in Paris. President David Granger, under whose leadership the agreement was signed, articulated that Guyana would commit to the introduction of a national Emissions Reducation Programme (ERP) that would see two million hectares of Guyana’s forest under conservation, in addition to improving timber monitoring and proliferating renewable sources of energy to reduce Guyana’s dependence on fossil fuels, among other commitments.
With the Agreement entering into force, it is expected that Guyana will be obligated to the long and short term commitments entrenched within the said provision. Some of government’s commitments however, were not seen as productive, neither practical by observers and analysts.
In fact, leader of the Opposition Dr Bharat Jagdeo, who is an authority on the subject area, condemned, among other things, the move made by the Granger administration to commit 2 million hectares of Guyana’s forest under conservation.
Jagdeo had explained that Guyana’s deforestation rate has remained one of the lowest in the world, around 0.065 per cent.
He said with a deforestation rate that low, there really was no need to conserve more of the country’s forest which could otherwise be utilised in an environmentally friendly way to boost production and ultimately generate revenue for the country and its people.
“How are they going to get that done? It could mean they are going to take back lands from the people who have forest leases, from miners; and even if they don’t, that would be two million hectares more of our land that we can’t bring into productive use,” he explained.
Jagdeo contended that this commitment was silly also because even developed countries were not making these pledges.
States are expected to tackle implementation of the Paris Agreement when COP22 (the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)) convenes in Marrakech, Morocco from 7 to 18 November 2016.
According to the United Nations it will support countries as they follow through on their promises towards a safer, greener and more sustainable future.