Climate Justice After Paris

Mary Robinson delivered the inaugural MSSI Oration on March 15. MSSI aims to facilitate and enable research linkages, projects and conversations leading to increased understanding of sustainability and resilience trends, challenges and solutions. CREDIT MSSI

Mary Robinson visited the University of Melbourne to deliver the inaugural oration for the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute on Tuesday 15 March. Addressing the growing role of climate justice in climate policy Mary Robinson reviewed the Paris Agreement from the perspectives of diplomacy, science and law.

On the issue of diplomacy Mary Robinson commented that “despite their differences, 196 countries came together to prove that a multilateral process built on trust and dialogue, and that respects the capacity of smaller delegations to engage, can yield strong results.  The creation of the High Ambition Coalition, a collective of some of the most vulnerable countries accompanied by some of the biggest emitters, was a turning point in Paris, as similar alliances had been previously in Cancun and Durban.”

“The next critical step for each of the 190+ countries that are part of the Paris Agreement is to ratify it.  The Agreement enters into force 30 days after it is ratified by at least 55 countries covering at least 55% of global GHG emissions.  Ratification is critical to making the agreement a legally binding treaty and to carrying forward the momentum from Paris.  Fiji’s parliament unanimously agreed to ratify the Paris agreement on the 12th February, making it the first country in the world to do so ” Mary Robinson told the audience of academics, scientists, students and campaigners.

Commenting on the recent controversy surrounding the financing of climate research in Australia,  Mary Robinson said “Australia has a responsibility to its citizens to protect them from climate impacts and to support others in more vulnerable situations around the world. I acknowledge Australia’s continued commitment to research into adaptation and mitigation measures. There is, however, a need for complementary, fundamental climate change research. As a result, it is imperative that research funding levels are not just sustained, but increased. Research is an investment in our shared future – it is not a luxury. ”

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