HOW LEGAL INSTRUMENTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE PROTECT THE ATMOSPHERE.
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STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The laws addressing the protection of the atmosphere deal essentially with the control and stabilization of GHG concentration in the atmosphere at the level that will [prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, but these laws are not effectively enforced.
This is evident in the extend of the liability of states and its nationals. States and their nationals have not been held liable for damages they have caused to the atmosphere, some states even abandon the organization, for example, the United States of America withdrew from the Paris Agreement on November 4, 2020, under the then United States President Donald Trump.
This was a violation of Article 28 of the Paris Agreement but was not sanctioned, this shows a flaw in the law that needs to be solved.
The need to protect the atmosphere has led to the enactment of global, regional and national laws. The UNFCCC’s main objective is to stabilize greenhouse gasses (GHG) concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
Such a level should be achieved within the time frame which is sufficient to allow systems to adapt naturally to climate change. The UNFCCC also created Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Degrading (REDD) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The GCF was a fund within the UNFCCC founded to ensure the transfer of funds and technology by developed countries to developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to combat climate change. However, developed countries have failed in carried out their obligations under the UNFCCC and the fulfilment of the obligations of developing countries can only be possible when developed countries fulfil their own obligations. Hence, countries have failed to carry out their common but differentiated responsibilities.
Furthermore, there also exists a problem at the level of the laws, for example, the Polluter Pays Principle which is based on the fact that those who are responsible for pollution, should meet the cost of its consequences.
However, the amount that is paid for pollution is too small that one with the ability to pay may go ahead and pollute since they will make a lot of profit from it even after paying the charge. Other principles remain questionable.
Also, at the level of the courts, many cases have been brought up in this area of the law but only one has been successful.
This discourages people from bringing legal actions on the pollution of the atmosphere hence encouraging the polluters to pollute more since they will not be sanctioned.
The courts are very reluctant to take cases in this area of the law. They neglect this area of the law and the interpretation of the law is fat.
The research questions will be divided into two parts namely; the general question and the specific questions.
- To what extent do legal instruments on climate change effectively protect the atmosphere?
- Specific Questions
- What are the status and the trends in the international protection of the atmosphere within international environmental law?
- What are the relevant principles and theories for the protection of the atmosphere within international environmental law?
- How effective have international legal instruments been in the protection of the atmosphere within international environmental law?
- What are the challenges faced in the protection of the atmosphere under international environmental law?
- RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
- General Objectives
- RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
- This research aims at appraising the extent to which legal instruments on climate change protect the atmosphere.
- Specific Objectives
- To examine the status and legal trends in the international protection of the atmosphere within international environmental law.
- To examine the relevant principles and theories for the protection of the atmosphere within international environmental law.
- To examine the effectiveness of international legal instruments on the protection of the atmosphere within international environmental law.
- To examine the challenges faced in the protection of the atmosphere under international environmental law.
- These statuses and trends might better protect the atmosphere internationally if they are effectively implemented by states.
- These relevant principles and theories might achieve the protection of the atmosphere if they are revisited and restructured in order to effectively protect the atmosphere. For example, the amount to be paid under the Polluters Pays principle should be increased.
- These legal instruments do not effectively protect the atmosphere due to some difficulties such as institutional and financial difficulties.
- There are many challenges faced in the protection of the atmosphere under international environmental law such as challenges within clustering and synergy, technological challenges, and even challenges to the understanding of the ozone layer.