In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations issued a special report on the impact of global warming. The report shared extensive research about our changing atmosphere and issued a grave warning: we must act immediately. The harrowing news came just over one year after President Trump ordered the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017. This begs the question: how will changes be made when the world’s most powerful and impactful hegemon refuses to cooperate?
Since its inception, compliance with the UN’s rules and regulations has been contentious for nations and individuals alike. Perhaps most prominent are the Security Council and the International Court of Justice, known internationally as sources of law for the maintenance of international peace and security. In theory, bodies like the Security Council and the International Court of Justice may presume member states’ compliance with their rules and regulations. Yet often the presumption of compliance is just that—in an effort to maintain its status as a peaceful international entity, the UN has limited enforcement power. The result is body of agreement, and not much else.