Updated letter to call for support of CEE ”Blueprint”-2022

Dear XXX,

 Support for the framework and principles of the Climate & Ecological Emergency ”Blueprint” – a model law for our existential crisis

I am writing to you on behalf of a coalition of concerned parties in the so-called ‘developed world’* in regard to our unfolding climate-nature crisis in the context of national and global injustice and the lack of robust legislative implementation to make good the Minority World leaders’ pledges and rhetoric aplenty. 

In these unprecedented times, now eight months after Earth Day April 2022 , in the context of acute geo-political turmoil and human aggression, human civilisation has reached a juncture of make or break for the future of maintaining and remediating global ecological health for a hospitable Earth.  

European and US-led Nato priorities have been imperatively set in motion to the war in Ukraine but it should come as no surprise that the dreadful human toll is equalled by the ecosystemic toll as the victims of war. Modern warfare wrecks devastation on the living world. 

We cannot allow the imperative of the climate and ecological emergency to be left on the backburner: in war and in peace, the human world remains in thrall to fossil fuels and the engine of human over-consumption,  waste and indirect and direct conflict-ridden destruction. There is a shift in paradigm, at least in the academic realms of ecological economics and grassroots activism, in the concept of degrowth as a viable and crucial alternative to the presiding economic model of GDP.

Thus, anthropogenic infringement on the natural world and the pollution of its biosphere is  rife, unleashing extreme weather patterns, wildfires, floods, storms across our interconnected world of extractive and unbridled supply chains that continue to feed and fuel inequity across human society.

Our world is situated on a delicate climatic balance that allows human civilisation to flourish. ‘Tipping points’ have already been breached and this has proved catastrophic for swathes of the Global South population . As we all know too well, in the landscape of global inequality, peoples of the developing world bear a far greater burden than those who bear the greatest responsibility for anthropogenic impacts: the recent UNICEF Report concludes that 1 billion children are  at ‘extremely high risk’ of the impacts of the climate crisis and interrelated environmental hazards due to societal over-consumption. The relationship between CO2 emissions per capita vs GDP per capita illustrates the gap of consumerist injustice.

And speaking of Natural capital,  the complex web of supply chains that underpins modern civilisation, risks being disrupted or entirely destroyed by the human-caused depletion of natural resources. According to a joint report by Nature Risk Rising in collaboration with PwC

‘$44 trillion of economic value generation – over half the world’s total GDP – is moderately or highly dependent on nature.’

A very recent UN Report on Chronic land degradation similarly states that, ‘Up to 40 % of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affects half of humanity, threatens roughly half of global GDP (US$44 trillion)’.  If we do not act now, there will be dire consequences not just for the global economy, but for humanity itself.

So how are we calling you to act? Via the robustness of legislation.

But don’t environmental laws already exist in our countries? , you may well ask….

  1. On climate mitigation and adaptation 

 The missing link in robust implementation of the Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The realisation of the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C mitigation target-or in other words, the global carbon budget (UN IPCC  assessment suggests a remaining budget of about 420 GtCO2 for a two-thirds chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C)- and a report published by  Exeter University, UK, Global Systems institiute in 2022, states that for at least a 50% of keeping within 1.5C,  this is  equivalent to 11 years remaining of  at 2021 global carbon budget at levels 2021 emissions levels. Despite these dire warnings, political value judgements are misaligned to the scientific evidence, as –  

  • countries are not legally obliged to deliver on their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and adhere to near-term carbon budgets and nor are 
  • countries obliged  to align to their NDC ambitions to reflect their historical responsibility and capabilities (CBDR-RC); and nor are 
  • countries held to  account for international aviation, shipping and consumption emissions (for net-consumer countries); and nor do 
  • countries need to make provision for meaningful citizenship involvement in deliberation and decision-making; and nor do 
  • countries need to interrelate climate mitigation and adaptation targets with the overarching biosphere goal : for a Nature-Positive future that is imperative for civilisation to hold within its planetary boundaries   
  1. Nature – entwined with the climate emergency – but yet the biosphere remains vulnerably under protected by law

The Right to a Healthy Environment -adopted resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council, 8th October 2021

According to Yann Aguila, this is the first step towards  a ratification of such a right by the UN General Assembly-the main policy-making organ of the UN, comprising all member States. This  could be the very catalyst to lead to an international, legal covenant on the Right to a Healthy Environment. However, whilst this remains tantalizingly  in the offing, this is not legally binding unlike the 1966 Human Rights covenant

Many member States do have national and regional laws that encapsulate in varying guises -both in terms of procedurally and substantively, where ‘the right to a healthy’ environment may carry different connotations. 

In terms of procedural aspect, this is in regard to the recourse within legislation that facilitates the ‘claimant’ to seek judicial action against the body responsible for safeguarding  but failing to protect the rights of the individual such as to a healthy environment. 

In terms of the substantive element, according to Aguila, this protects the elements of the natural environment that enable a dignified life. It englobes the preservation of basic human rights such as the right to life, clean water, food, etc.

As a ‘claim right’ as opposed to a ‘liberty right’ – this former assumes there to be the ‘rights-holder’ (the ‘victim/s’ whose rights to a healthy environment have been violated or infringed upon) and the failure in the ‘positive-obligation’ of third parties- otherwise considered the perpetrator responsible for the cause of the violation – often in the form of the State/Government or corporation. Examples of ‘claim right’ cases have been demonstrated under the following jurisdictions such as those of the Urgenda case and the German BverfG Order of the First Senate decision.

However, despite the numerous regional and national pieces of legislation that have been passed to protect the human right to a healthy environment-let alone, Nature’s right- to safeguards against environmental harm of the biosphere – there is no international mechanism to monitor whether or not States with such legislation actually implement their laws whereby the State/corporation/third party may be fully held to account for its failure to uphold the respective environmental law -either under judicial review or under constitutional law in a criminal court.

Furthermore, many national and regional laws constitute an anthropocentric focus.  However,  in the context of the climate and ecological emergency – and the recognition that extractive capitalism and excessive consumption, against a backdrop of global inequality and injustice- that results in the breaching of sustainable planetary boundaries, then it is, surely,  an ecocentric perspective that puts nature at the core, that must be adopted going forward.  It is such a paradigm that is described in the  UN Rights of Nature.

It is therefore argued that no Minority World country legislates for universal,  watertight Rights of Nature. 

We await the outcome of COP15 Convention on Biological Diversity. The ambitions of Nature Positive by 2030 at COP15 include one of its  most significant numeric targets- that of  30×30 target ( 30% of Earth’s biosphere – fauna and flora by 2030) -championed by High Ambition Coalition (HAC) – founded on the evidence-based science, presented in the landmark 2019 IPBES Report.

So, what is the Climate and Ecological Emergency ‘Blueprint’ Initiative proposing?

In summary, we are advocates of  the adoption of a climate-ecology emergency model law that mandates for direct involvement of society in the form of a citizens assembly in collaboration with respective governments. 

The Citizens Assembly would constitute a representative sample of the population to consult with experts on climate and ecology who together would  draw up the emergency climate-ecology protection and remediation strategy that would then be presented to the respective parliaments for scrutiny . However, the ‘Blueprint’ contains clauses that prevent parliament and its government from backsliding or regressing on their duty to deliver  the emergency strategy with a requirement that the ‘strategy’ must be approved by parliament  within 12 months of the passing of the ‘Blueprint’ into law. 

The Climate and Ecological Emergency ‘Blueprint’ is a model law, derived from the UK’s Climate and Ecology Bill, that proposes a dual climate-nature objective that must be met by the respective country -,

  • to transition away from fossil fuels -exploration, import/export and consumption – to net zero (inclusion of all greenhouse gases)-as rapidly as possible AND  
  • to halt the degradation and actively promote the restoration of any aspect of the natural world that the respective country impacts through its consumption.

The CEE ‘Blueprint’ considers – 

  • Tackling  the climate and ecological emergencies in synergy – not as separate entities
  • Ensuring respective countries do their fair share in cutting their greenhouse gas emissions in both terrestrial and consumption emissions consistent with their Paris Agreement 1.5C commitment
  • Halting and reversing ecological degradation and biodiversity loss by 2030 aligned to the Leaders Pledge for Nature and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Taking responsibility for the entirety their carbon and ecological footprints – nationally and abroad
  • Involving public participation to ensure a socially just way forward to formulate the emergency  strategy to address their respective country’s climate-ecology responsibility  

So, as one who holds the privilege of influence, may we ask, what will be your legacy as we emerge on the other side of COP26 and  CBDCOP15 and humanity strikes sure-footed into the likely sixth mass extinction  ?

We invite you to help us, as a grass-roots, civil society, to hold those who wield power to account and not allow our leaders to abrogate their moral responsibility . We ask you to publicly declare your support for and to advocate the CEE ‘Blueprint’. 

Please do contact us for further details or to arrange an online  meeting

Yours sincerely,