Challenges Yet Facing The International Environmental Agreements

Ukraine | Russia
March 1, 2024

Paris Climate agreement is an international agreement between countries to create policies and legislations to mitigate and adapt to climate change thus participating in bringing about betterment in climate to sustain life. To achieve this mission each country created an Agreement on a Nationally determined Contribution (NDC) an individual ideal plan or limiting the greenhouse emissions, adapting to climate change.  The Paris agreement also emphasize on the responsibilities of the developed countries by initiating leadership roles in mitigating climate change while developing countries making their environment policies with obligation to the environment and climate. Having signatories from 197 countries only U.S stands without signature in the agreement. However this agreement has no punitive measures and there does not have any legal binding.

To achieve the goal of net zero of emissions as of now only few of the countries have enacted laws to control such greenhouse gas effects. With the invasions of Ukraine by Russia energy making have roiled up further making it harder to achieve the goal. The agreements and policies are generally framed in anthropocentric terms. It should be more eco -centric and less anthropocentric. The EU is a Party to many International Environmental Agreements. The matters addressed by these agreements are very wide: biodiversity and nature protection, climate change, protection of the ozone layer, desertification, management of chemicals and waste, transboundary water and air pollution, environmental governance (including impact assessments, access to information and public participation), industrial accidents, maritime and river protection, environmental liability.

The main Conventions to Environment protection are :

  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) 
  • Kyoto Protocol (1997)
  • Paris Agreement (2015) 
  • Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (1985) 

Global commons defined spaces of the planet that fall outside national jurisdictions and to which all nations have access identified as four global commons, namely the High Seas, the Atmosphere, Antarctica, and the Outer Space and now the Internet as added by the International Law. It is a spectated as the Tragedy of the Commons in the environmental science.

Some specific examples include:

  • Deforestation: Overexploitation of the earth’s forest has had enormous consequences on the environment. As a result of a lack of resource management, our forests have disappeared at a rapid rate over the last century. 
  • Animal extinction: Overfishing and overhunting are examples of a common pool resource being depleted by individuals acting in their own self-interest. 
  • Depletion of natural resources: When common resources are consumed with an eye towards short-term gain, the result can be a tragedy of the commons. For instance, when water is drawn from an aquifer faster than it refills, the immediate gains are undercut by the long-term danger of drought. 
  • Climate change: Global warming is, on some level, a result of a tragedy of the commons, as governments, corporations, and individuals fail to consider the cumulative effect their actions have on our shared environment.

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