Horizon Social Media Analysis

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Binding or not binding, that is the question

During the climate negotiations, the legally binding aspect of the agreement will be bitterly debated. But how key is it in reality? With an American veto widely expected, how else can we move forward?

© Brian Snyder / Reuters / Jonathan Ernst

Europe, led by French President Francois Hollande, continues to hammer home that the Paris agreement should be legally binding. As recently as November 11th, John Kerry, US Secretary of State went on record declaring “this agreement will certainly not be a treaty. There won’t be any legally binding objectives for emissions like at Kyoto”, a treaty that the USA refused to ratify. 

 
 

 

84% of Internet users, based on data collected by COP21Horizon, are in favour of a legally binding agreement, 68% of whom because they want to see real change, not just promises, like in Copenhagen.

Not easy to apply a legally binding agreement 

Two weeks later, the debate has cooled off and other voices can be heard. Jean Jouzel for example, former vice-president of the IPPC group, believes it is not desirable to move towards a legally binding agreement that will be difficult to apply and will only limit ambitions as, for the first time, all major countries are taking part in the negotiations. 

 

The US congress will not vote a bindding treaty on the climate

 

Because Congress, being Republican in majority, will probably block any legally binding agreement, internet users who are not in favour of a legally binding agreement believe it would be better to focus on questions of energy and other more realistic goals. 6% of them add that Kyoto was legally binding but it didn't work anyway because it excludes the two major polluters (USA and China). 

Towards a hybrid agreement?

Laurent Fabius, president of COP21, has recently declared himself in favour of a hybrid agreement that will be legally binding for certain parts of the text, for example for the follow-up of national commitments. 9% of internet users agree stating they want binding commitment on support for developing countries and emissions targets.