Small island states most affected by climate change and rising oceans are leading effort before International Court of Justice for “advisory opinion ruling” on whether countries have a legal responsibility to ensure that any activities on their territory that emit greenhouse gases do not harm other states. Although the ruling or “opinion” would be non-binding, the embarrassment and intangible diplomatic consequences could be significant for US, China, India, Russia, Canada etc – all states that have either rejected and/or withdrawn from Kyoto Protocols and related climate change/environmental treaties. Tide of Oceans & Disregard? “The truth is that nothing we or other specific countries will do will stem the rising tides or the flood of global emissions. We need everyone to buy in or it won’t work. An ICJ advisory opinion will give us the guidance we need on what all states must do,” said Johnson Toribiong, President of Palau. “I am pleased that deliberations on a possible resolution have begun here in New York, but there is a long way to go.” “Whether it gets to the ICJ or not depends upon the momentum that this initiative will create, but I think in the process, we’d like to raise the consciousness of the world community to the issue of responsibility.” The advisory opinion has to be requested by the UN General Assembly. Palau and the state of Marshal Islands, (a friend of Bosnia & Herzegovina during my tenure as Ambassador) are leading the diplomatic effort. However, at least some of the UN’s P-5 (Permanent & veto wielding members of the UN Security Council) are not necessarily enthused by the prospect. They cannot though stop it procedurally but have weighed in with their influence to discourage the effort. Rule of Law on Environmental Rights: According to President Toribiong: “Science is clear that the most vulnerable, like the small island states, are least responsible. It makes sense for those most vulnerable to look out for any possible solution, and in this case, having no other means other than to resort to the rule of law, I think it is in accordance to the spirit of the United Nations Charter.” In recent years, rising tides have damaged coastal roads and affected crops, including taro, Palau’s staple food. See Film Report – “Survivor Island” - diplomaticallyincorrect.org/films/movie/survivor-island/28784 Leverage Against the Big Polluters: Whatever, the results, the effort by the small island states as well as vulnerable coastal countries like Bangladesh, is one of few means they can fight back against nature and the polluters that make it more extreme. Perhaps they will get some more $ to counter the effects of global warming or even they might become one of the small victories that will convince us all that the danger is real – that we all must stand together or swim and sink separately, so to speak! Also Read:-“Healing the Oceans – An Agreement” - diplomaticallyincorrect.org/films/blog_post/healing-the-oceans-an-agreement/44248 New President & Old Friend for ICJ: In a related matter, another of my colleague Ambassadors at the UN now Judge Peter Tomka (Slovakia) of the International Court of Justice was elected as President of the Court. A considerate and genteel person, we wish him the best. Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey - FOLOW mo @MuhamedSacirbey Facebook-Become a Fan at “Diplomatically Incorrect” Twitter – Follow us at DiplomaticallyX ECOLOGY-DIPLOMAT Channel - diplomaticallyincorrect.org/c/ecology-diplomat Photo - Courtesy of Greenpeace.org
Big Polluters Fear Court Ruling?
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