World Environment Day June 5, 2021

U.P. Law LL.M International Environmental Law Syllabus authored by Prof. Rommel Casis Guide Question on the topic of Multilateral Treaties: “Is a multilateral treaty the best solution for solving the climate change problem?”(500 words or less, no specific format required)

Multilateralism by marichu c. lambino based on the syllabus authored by Prof. Rommel Casis

May 16, 2021

          Averting climate change, or mitigating it, requires a paradigm shift in the usual business and way of life of people, of owners of big industries, of leaders of industrialized countries, of power-brokers across continents —  of nations and individual citizens. Such paradigm-shift requires access to the collective consciousness of the populace, the frame of mind that shapes actions,

and lead  to  change in  the policies of government, the practices of companies, and the behavior of individuals.

                 There is an area where this is cast and molded. The groundwork in the building of a multilateral treaty provides a multilayered field of negotiations and discussions – a process of reaching out to people and to audiences. In other words, the consensus-building nature of the negotiations leading to  a multilateral treaty, itself, brings together various groups within nations, and among countries. The consent-making and consent-merging process itself  is  the unifying solution – the written document being the textual summation of that collective struggle.

                 The negotiations leading to the Kyoto Protocol entering into full force in 2005, from its adoption in 1997, seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the presence of greenhouse gases, was able to bind  forty-one industrialized countries and the European Union to undertake  land-use, land-use change and forestry activities in order to meet specific targets at lowering greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. It is an implementation of the principle adopted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on “common but differentiated responsibilities” — placing the greater responsibility on industrialized countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is a testament to the strength of consensus-building as a process in multilateralizing the movement to combat climate change.

                   The multilateral treaty to avert or mitigate climate change, in the end, as an end,  is the verbal manifestation of the paradigm shift that is  required to turn around, and turn down the rising global mean temperature.

                The resulting written form, the multilateral treaty, in turn,  is the subject of much “law-making” discourse in international law.

                 Professors Patricia Birnie and Alan Boyd point out that multilateral treaties create legal regimes in international law that include almost all States as parties, allowing no derogation and no reservation, and as such,  constitute “the most important basis for international environmental law” (Birnie and Boyle, 2009). Treaties, according to the authors, have become the most constant instruments in forming international rules on the environment.

                  The authors cite the swift ratification of the 1983 Vienna Convention for Protection of the Ozone Layer with its Montreal Protocol, and how this shows that multilateral treaties provide one of the most “efficient means of urgent global or regional lawmaking” in international law.

                 The authors also demonstrate how multilateral treaties can evolve into customary international law through research and study to establish  state practices and opinio juris, revealing their status as fundamentally “norm-making”.

                  Multilateral treaties universalize the realization that there is an urgent need to arrest the spiraling turn of climate change and,  when drawn upon in scientific terms,  lead to effective and observable enforcement. – by marichu c. lambino, 16 May 2021

                   (blog admin’s note: teeny-weeny: an active verb i mistakenly pluralized in the original… is still pluralized here, even with the opportunity to correct — not a typo this time, fully aware 😀 )           

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