The Paris Accords on climate change is now in force.
You didn’t notice any change, did you? I predict that you will not notice any change in climate change. The climate will keep changing. “The climate, it is a-changin’.”
The accords are not a treaty. There are no sanctions for non-compliance. A law without sanctions is not a law. It is a suggestion. There is no institutional arrangement to force compliance. Think of the United Nations with no building or flag or blue helmets.
The Paris Agreement, that comes into force today, represents a watershed moment in the fight against climate change. The unanimous agreement by 196 states, to clear targets and mechanisms to steer the global economy to zero emissions, is now law. Entry into force occurred at unprecedented speed. How will it go down in history? Could it be seen as the greatest example of multilateralism, ever?
The treaties that defined Christianity, the nation state, inter-war peace and the global monetary system – the First Council of Nicaea 325, the Peace of Westphalia 1648, the Congress of Vienna 1815 and Breton Woods 1944 – are useful comparators to help answer this question.
These “comparators” are quite useful. Let’s look at them.
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