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Our Common Home is a Stable Climate

A Common Heritage of HUMANKIND

After an initial impulse from Common Home of Humanity, a Recommendation from CNADS (National Commission for the Environment and the Sustainable Development), a petition that gathered more than 260 Portuguese academics, and a public petition with thousands of signatures, on November 5th, 2021, the Portuguese Parliament approved the Climate Law, which defined in its article 15th paragraph f), the diplomatic objective of recognition of the Stable Climate as a Common Heritage of Humankind by the United Nations.

This goal made Portugal a pioneer in the worldwide discussion on the legal status of climate - "What is Climate from a Legal standpoint?". This is a still unanswered question that continues to conditioning climate negotiations and their results (or the lack of them). The undefined legal status of the Common Good Stable Climate, also means that the most basic structural condition for any human action to be possible - the existence of an adequate legal environment - is not yet present in the strategy to fight climate change.

After the 2021 report of the International Law Commission (ILC) stated that: "The atmosphere and the airspace are two different concepts, that must be distinguished", a path was opened to autonomize the functional dimension of the Earth System in relation to the static territorial element of sovereignty, it is possible to answer this question, which we can say is an existential question. The current inability to legally portray the functional dynamics of the planet was at the origin of the rejection of Malta's proposal of 09/1988, to recognize the Stable Climate as a Common Heritage of Humankind. The solution of 12/1988 was to address the problem - Climate Change is a Common Concern of Humanity - which is still the legal framework of Paris Agreement. This option limited the strategy of action to an attempt to mitigate the problem - avoid/reduce/neutralize emissions - omitting the vital need to promote the valuation, preservation and enhancement of the ecological services that ensure the provision and maintenance of a stable climate. By addressing only the problem, the good Climate has been left with undefined ownership. By not belonging to anyone, the “tragedy of commons” on a global scale has happened. Because the good Stable Climate is not legally recognized, it is impossible to internalize benefits that ecosystems perform on behalf of Climate, because they disappear into a global legal void. Today there is no system of incentives for performing negative emissions, nor is it possible to build an economy that actively maintains and/or restores Climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assumes that only through huge CO2 removals from the atmosphere can the goals of the Paris Agreement be achieved. "Common Concern" has not only been ineffective in the past, as it is inappropriate for our future.

 

Restoring the proper functioning of the Earth System, that corresponds to a Stable Climate, implies recognizing a common good that belongs to all - a Common Heritage of Humanity - to which congruent rules should be applied between appropriation and provision of this good (currently, not existing in the Paris Agreement), but which are structural to be possible the successful management of any common good.

Since everything, but really everything in our society is based on a Stable Climate, and the Planet Earth without a well-functioning Earth System (corresponding to a Stable Climate) does not serve as our Common Home, the goal of the Task Force for the Recognition of Climate as a Common Heritage of Humankind, is to launch a global discussion around the lack of a legal status for Climate, or the current option to consider climate change as a concern.

The Task Force for the Recognition of Climate as a Common Heritage of Humankind

Coordination:

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Institutional Support:

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CPLP – Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa

MAAC – Ministério do Ambiente e Ação Climática

ICNF – Instituto Nacional de Conservação da Natureza

CNADS – Conselho Nacional do Ambiente e do Desenvolvimento Sustentável

Câmara Municipal de Vila Nova de  Gaia

Câmara Municipal do Porto

Associação Comercial do Porto

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Conference Climate Heritage of Humankind

Conference Programe

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Português

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English

Base Document

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Português

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English

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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Português

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English

The goal of recognizing the Stable Climate as a Common Heritage of Humanity was included under point 2 in the Stockholm+50 Declaration - Restoring Our Common Home

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And included in the official recommendations of the Stockholm+50 Conference - June 2022, where a Side Event was held. Watch it here:

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ViDEOS

news

articles

https://boletim.oa.pt/o-estatuto-juridico-do-clima-2/
Magalhães P. 2021. Common Interest, Concern or Heritage? The “commons” as a structural support for an Earth System Law. Earth system law: standing on the precipice of the Anthropocene. Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Earth-System-Law-Standing-on-the-Precipice-of-the-Anthropocene/Cadman-Hurlbert-Simonelli/p/book/9781032056241


https://www.researchgate.net/publication/357430340_Common_Interest_concern_or_heritage_The_commons_as_a_structural_support_for_an_Earth_System_law

December 2020 - Redefining Global Commons in the Anthropocene -
https://thesolutionsjournal.com/2020/12/01/redefining-global-commons-in-the-anthropocene/

February 2020 - Climate as a Concern or a Heritage? Addressing the
legal structural roots of climate emergency -
https://cije.up.pt/client/files/0000000001/6-artigo-paulo-magalhaes_1592.pdf

October 2021 -Why we need a legal framework that recognizes a
stable climate -
https://www.oneearth.org/why-we-need-a-legal-framework-that-recognizes-a-stable-climate/
 

documents

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who are we?

Coordenation:

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Members:

ACP -Associação Comercial do Porto

Águas do Algarve

Águas do Tejo Atlântico

APIP – Associação Portuguesa da Industria do Plástico

BMW Portugal

CES – Conselho Economico e Social

CNADS – Conselho Nacional do Ambiente e do Desenvolvimento Sustentável

DECO – Associação Portuguesa de Defesa do Consumidor

EPAL – Águas Lisboa e Vale do Tejo

FNAJ – Federação Nacional Associações de Juventude

IBEREX / Faber Castell

ICNF – Instituto de Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas

REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais

Telles de Abreu Associados

Turismo de Portugal

UCCLA – União das Cidades Capitais de língua Portuguesa

ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável