This is how it is.
The United States, the world’s second largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, has announced its withdrawal from the first multilateral agreement on climate change signed by 195 countries. An agreement that reminds us of our shared responsibility and commits each country to imagining its OWN path towards ensuring a “liveable” planet.
By signing the Paris Agreement, the least developed States abandoned their claims for a fair share-out of this responsibility – a legitimate demand considering the carbon debt industrial countries have built up and continue to accumulate – and agreed that all States should step away from the extractive economic model. Pulling out of the Paris agreement is therefore a display of arrogance to the whole world, an umpteenth provocation. The United States has already withdrawn from other global commitments, like the commitment to financing the UN programme in charge of improving women and girls’ health worldwide… so no real surprise here.
Around the globe, the reactions expressed anger at this attitude and cities have reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to transforming their territories. The European Union hopes to renew its leadership to save the climate. The current situation, however, requires all sectors and levels of governance to be aligned.
For José Blanco Lopez, the European Parliament rapporteur on the new Renewable Directive, this means committing to achieving 35% renewable energy by 2030 (as opposed to the Council of Ministers’ position which opted for a “27% minimum”). An ambitious target, implemented in all the countries, provides the transition stakeholders with a stable framework and a political signal that there is no change in direction.
For European Parliament rapporteurs Michèle Rivasi and Claude Turmes, incorporating the Paris Agreement into the Energy Union governance will require forging partnerships between all levels of governance, reversing energy planning practice by starting from existing local resources and involving all stakeholders (see their draft report here).
Leaving aside geopolitical considerations where any provocation may lead to greater instability, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement means that a link in the chain of interrelations will be missing. The web of our interconnected world will find a solution to this missing “node” but it will not be strengthened. Mobilising all stakeholders really means ALL stakeholders!
by Claire Roumet, Executive Director of Energy Cities
June 12, 2017