Paris Agreement: America`s Withdrawal Blow To Environmental Sustainability – S/S Stakeholders - Sundiata Tech

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Paris Agreement: America`s Withdrawal Blow To Environmental Sustainability – S/S Stakeholders

By Reporters/Dianabasi Effiong

Port Harcourt - Stakeholders in the South-South geopolitical zone have described President Donald Trump’s resolve to withdraw America from Paris Agreement on Climate Change as a blow to the fight against global environmental challenges.

Some of the stakeholders, who gave their opinion in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, said Trump’s decision represented a sad example of how nations should never behave.

According to them,  America’s decision to pull out from Paris agreement is an environment black day and will no doubt, affect Africa, Nigeria and the Niger Delta region in particular.

Yet, others were of the opinion that America’s decision  should challenge the developing countries to look inwards to utilise and manage resources available to them, including their environment.

Mr Christian Otiasah, an environmentalist and researcher, says President Donald Trump’s decline to assent to the Paris Agreement on climate change would affect global environmental cleanliness and sustainable development.

Otiasah told NAN in Port Harcourt that the decision was bad for poisonous emissions reduction and an environmental tragedy.

He said: “This represents a fundamental backwardness to progress achieved so far on ambient air quality, carbon emissions and sequestration of killer gases, ecological conservation, sustainability, biodiversity and so on.’’

According to Otiasah, air pollution is oftentimes trans-boundary and can be traced from the advent of the Industrial Revolution with proven capacity for millions of human fatalities, public health and ecological impacts.

“The antecedents of USA and China on their stance on environmental protocols and treaties will educate the society better on Trump’s wrong decision.

“At a time that intense advocacy had made some snail wise progress in the US with the Obama Government attempting some balance between environmental unfriendly production, urbanisation and sustainability.

“Obama’s decision was in line with global compliance with the prescriptions of the Bourges Commission on sustainable development, the Kyoto protocol on carbon emissions reduction .

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1997 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that commits State Parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus.

Also known as Kyoto Accord, it is an international treaty among industrialized nations that sets mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

The greenhouse effect is the warming effect of the sun on greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that act to trap this heat in our atmosphere.

“Global warming is occurring. Check out the meaning, cause and global implications of the Pollution Haven Theory and see if Nigerians should be concerned on global environmental happenings.

“The recent tragedy in the district of Flint and particularly this misadventure by Trump as to understand the price any Nigerian that supports the US President’s decision will pay for what you just supported,” he added.

Otiasah said that Trump had simply abdicated responsibilities of the US environmental obligations, and rather transferred it to mostly MINT countries.

MINT means Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. It is generally used environmentally to refer to developing jurisdictions without stringent environmental standards compliance enforcement.

“Simply put, Nigeria must be dirty for the US to be clean. It is a pity when they chose and pick and are bigger than International laws,’’ he said.

According to him “the US refusal of assent to the Paris Climate Agreement is a tragic rape and a conscienceless abashment of the Extended Liability Principles’’.

“ Extended Liability Principles…wherein environmental externalities must be borne by the polluter either vicariously, strictly, as in Ryland vs Fletcher or various Tort damage procedures.

“This is in both the strict and vicarious liabilities of the global applications of the Polluter Pay Principles, and vigorously renders nugatory its implications to the rule in Ryland & Fletcher with wide global application in Common Tort laws.

“It is a shame and a clever way of further punishing countries like Nigeria. It is an environmental black day that will grant unfettered leverage to China and their likes to perpetrate unprecedented air pollution,’’ Otiasah.

He urged the UN “to commit global polluters to environmental justice, particularly the US and other industrialized countries to arrest deafening adverse consequences to third world countries’’.

Mr Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), a non governmental organisation, told NAN in Benin that the exit of the USA from the Paris Climate agreement was “unfortunately a sad example of how nations should never behave’’.

According to Bassey, USA is the second largest polluter in the world and contributes hugely to the climate crisis the world is facing now.

“The Paris Agreement stands as one platform that saw the world agreeing to work together to tackle climate change.

“Mr Trump’s action is placing the burden of fighting global warming on the victims. This is crass injustice,’’ the environmentalist said.

Mr David Ugolor, Founder and Director, Africa Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), said that President Trump’s decision was not surprising.

He recalled that during his campaign for the presidency of America, Trump promised to put America first before any other country.

Ugolor also said that the decision would be a setback for the victory recorded so far in the fight against climate change.

He said that there were lessons to be learnt by African countries over the USA’s action, adding the African countries should learn to put their counties as priorities while signing international treaties.

He also said that with Trump’s decision, African countries would suffer more of the problems of climate and environmental challenges as they were the worst hit by climate change.

In Calabar, an environmentalist, Dr Richard Ogban, who faulted US President, Mr Donald Trump, for pulling out of Paris Climate Accord, said the decision was a big blow to Africa in particular.

Ogban, a lecturer in the University of Calabar, told NAN Trump had on June 1, announced the pulling out of US from the Paris Climate signed in 2015 by former president Barrack Obama.

He said: “Trump said that the document of the accord was negotiated poorly by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation.

According to Ogban, the pulling out of US will affect Africa, Nigeria and the Niger Delta region in particular and adversely discourage the aim of curbing climate change in the Niger Delta region.

“Now that the major sponsor of the accord are out of it, it will affect Africa that solely depends on them for assistance.

“I recall last year session that took place in Paris. Cross River Gov. Ben Ayade was fully in attendance at the event,’’ he said.

But Prof. Gabriel Umoh of the University of Uyo, said that Trump’s decision in relation to the climate change agreement although regrettable, would compel developing countries on resource management.

Umoh, who is the Director, Centre for Wetland and Management Studies in the university, said that the decision should propel developing countries to manage their environment without waiting for assistance from developed nations.

According to him, most developing countries have developed this beggar attitude and dependency mind-set to depend on developed countries to fund some activities in their country like climate change.

The professor also told NAN that US was reported to have contributed quite a lot based on the Paris agreement, adding that the withdrawal would affect developing nations negatively.

“Now with US withdrawal, it means those funding will not be coming to developing countries again.

“Then, there will be increased  environmental problems in developing nations as the resources to deal with climate change in these developing countries will dwindle,’’ Umoh said.

He also said that United States is one of the great polluters of environment in the world  because of their industries.

He said that apart from the US, all developed countries like China, Germany and Russia among others were the ones polluting the environment.

He said that unless United States take steps to reduce its own gaseous emissions, the effect on climate would continue to increase.

According to the don, if adequate steps were not taken, there would be adverse effects on the environment

“The good thing about the decision is that it should challenge the developing countries to be looking inward to the resources available to them and also to be sensible the way they managed their resources including the environment.

According to him, Trump’s decision would adversely discourage the aim of curbing climate change in the Niger Delta region.

“The developing countries have to re-strategise to manage the resources available to them to manage the environment not depending on foreign donors because other countries may also opt out one day.

“It requires developing countries including Nigeria to come back home re strategize, look at the resources and refocus on fighting climate change,” he said.

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