By Paul Homewood
h/t Robin Guenier
As we all know, the Paris Agreement did very little other than kick the can down the road.
Yet the more that this becomes obvious, the more its proponents tie themselves in knots to acclaim it.
The latest attempt comes in the form of something called the “Profiles of Paris”. This is basically a “Love In” for “Climate Luvvies”, including the likes of Richard Branson, Pope Francis, Nicholas Stern, Christiane Amanpour, Weepy Bill McKibben, Arnie Schwarzenneger, Ban Ki Moon, Al Gore, Catherine McKenna, and even that little twerp David Miliband (brother of the idiot, Ed).
They and many others have been given the chance to relate the part they played in saving the world.
One of the most fascinating ones comes from Laurent Fabius, who you might recall was French Foreign Minister at the time, responsible for overseeing the conference.
Here are two gems:
It was then that John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, urgently requested a meeting. John Kerry had been very helpful all through the process. Indeed, a few days earlier he and the Chinese negotiator had been in my office for the purposes of fine-tuning some of the wording that would later prove to be valuable in the final arbitration. “Laurent,” he said, “I cannot accept the text, it is impossible.” “Not possible? But it is too late to change!” “It’s impossible,” he repeated, “because there is a section where the word ‘shall’ has been used in the place of ‘should’, which was in the previous versions. In one case – as any lawyer will tell you – there is an obligation of means, and in the other the United States would be agreeing to an obligation to achieve precise results. The use of ‘shall’ would require that the US Senate put the text to a vote for approval. As you know, if we have to go down that path, there will be no Paris Agreement.” That was quite a blow! I quickly asked my team to review the situation. In the previous versions, the term that referred to financing was in fact “should”. As the final draft of the text was prepared, “should” had unfortunately been changed to “shall”. A typographical error. I told John Kerry that I was going to try to find a solution, but there was no guarantee. If the other delegations objected, we were headed for failure.
I sent an emissary to the most sensitive group, the G77 + China, to explain the circumstances. The group and its leaders refused to go back to the “should” version. We had to start from scratch: impossible. The minutes, the half-hours ticked by. We were up against a wall. The Conference participants were unaware of the situation, and did not understand why the COP stage was empty; rumours swirled and the delegates were more and more eager to vote. Tensions rose and many participants, who had been inclined to vote in favour, felt their convictions wavering.
In these circumstances, I decided that I needed to go to the tiny room just off the stage area where the “shall-should group” was meeting. Representatives of the G77 turned to face me as I entered. I put my cards on the table. “Over these many months,” I told them, “we have come to know each other, we have worked together, and we respect one another. I trust you and I believe you trust me. This is a typographical error that escaped us and not a substantive change. I would ask you, in confidence, not to refuse the necessary correction of this error – changing ‘shall’ back to ‘should’”. There was a moment of silence that seemed endless to me. Then the chief negotiator, the South African delegate, simply said, “All right.” The Paris Agreement was saved.
Whether it really was the simple typo error claimed is debatable. But what is absolutely clear is the determination of Kerry and Obama to avoid sending the treaty to Senate.
In the face of these challenges, it is essential that “the spirit of Paris” should be preserved. Yet there are risks that the Agreement might be blocked or that backsliding could occur. The leading example of a setback is the reprehensible decision, with its dire consequences, made by President Obama’s successor, to pull out of the Paris Agreement. Faced with such retrograde behaviour, we absolutely must pursue universal mobilisation – not only of States, but of all non-governmental actors as well, civil society, and especially local authorities and businesses. Each and every one of us holds part of the solution, through our choices of lifestyle, transportation, energy use, waste reduction, water and heating conservation, and so forth. The threat is global, and the response must be global as well.
Aware that Paris was little more than a house of cards, Fabius is obviously getting his excuses in already – blame it on Trump.
Indeed, Obama’s climate envoy, who references Fabius’ comments in an article on Climate Home News, talks about the recent failed Bonn climate meeting:
“In the absence of the United States, you have a phenomenon of a fair number of countries, I think, trying to pull back a little bit on some of the things that were agreed to, some of the compromises that were reached in Paris”
In reality, the breakdown at Bonn was the inevitable result of the inherent contradictions of Paris. Developing countries said,”where is our money?”. Developed ones said “when are you going to cut emissions”?”
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June 3, 2018 at 02:57AM