Posts Tagged ‘COP21’

Paris Climate Agreement: A review

December 14, 2015

The planet has now been saved – from a non-existent problem by an empty Agreement which promises nothing but the perpetuation of the Climate Community.

Paris Agreement

The Climate Community consists of about 20,000 – 30,000 people who are the Chosen of the God of Global Warming. They are elated at having secured their future jamborees. The politicians are all claiming great success in reaching The Paris Agreement. The unquestioning and gullible media – for the most part – are also effusive in their congratulations. I suspect that not very many have actually read and understood the Paris Agreement. I have been brought up to the view that an Agreement – to be an Agreement – consists of describing duties and obligations and with promised actions balanced by liabilities. This Agreement is devoid of any promises and accompanying liabilities. The Agreement is worth looking at – if only as an example of how to structure an empty document and still call it an Agreement.

COP21 Agreement 20151212

As I expected, the Paris agreement has no commitments – except to meet again and keep these meetings going. (One could ask, if COP21 was such a great success, why a COP22 and a COP23, and so on ad infinitum, are still needed?). But I am also very happy the parties have reached such an empty agreement. The harm it can do, for starting with a false premise (that global temperature can be controlled merely by reducing fossil fuel use), is limited by this very emptiness. In any event, all emissions reductions are voluntary and are not commitments. All developing countries will strive to reach a peak of carbon dioxide emissions – where defining the magnitude and timing of the peak is left to the judgement of each country. Developed countries will assist with money and technology to the extent they can. Any signatory can leave the agreement at any time after the first 3 years by giving one years notice.

The only binding things in the Paris Agreement is that while all parties are unbound, these UN jamborees of waste shall continue for ever. Nearly all decisions in the Agreement are about perpetuating the well-paid (and utterly useless) jobs of the Climate Community for ever.

The Paris Agreement is structured as a document in two sections. The first is entitled “ADOPTION of the Paris Agreement” consisting of VI parts describing what has been adopted. The second section is the Paris Agreement itself as an Annexe and consisting of 29 Articles.

The VI parts of the first section contains 140 paragraphs, of which 48 are “decides”. All the other paragraphs are “requests” or “takes note” or “recognises” or “invites” or “welcomes” or the like. I have extracted the “decides” and the self-serving manner in which they just protect the jobs of the Community is almost obscene.

The Decides of Paris

The “decides” are overwhelmingly about further meetings, or the setting up of committees, commissions and even champions. But the bottom line is that what has been achieved here is the perpetuation of jobs for the Chosen.

The main Paris Agreement is contained in the 29 Articles of the Annexe. There is nothing in any these 29 Articles which is a binding commitment by any country to reduce emissions by any specific amount or to provide any specific amount of funding.

I note particularly the following:

Article 20

  1. This Agreement shall be open for signature and subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by States and regional economic integration organizations that are Parties to the Convention. It shall be open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017. ….

Article 21

  1. This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. ….

Article 28

  1. At any time after three years from the date on which this Agreement has entered into force for a Party, that Party may withdraw from this Agreement by giving written notification to the Depositary.
  2. Any such withdrawal shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date of receipt by the Depositary of the notification of withdrawal, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of withdrawal. …

A party which does not ratify the agreement is not even bound to the empty words even if it “has come into effect”. Any signatory can effectively leave the agreement at any time by giving one years notice. It is a binding agreement to be unbound.

But since the world has now been saved perhaps we will have a little less of the alarmist hysteria. What does it matter if the saving is by means of an empty agreement. As I have noted before, China and India can continue – quite unhindered – with their continued use of coal, oil and gas at their planned levels, while still meeting their pledges of reduction of emissions intensity (emissions/GDP).

The reporting of the “achievements” as seen by Indian eyes is telling

NDTVAsked why India made compromises, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told NDTV, “To achieve big things you need to be accommodating without changing the meaning and thrust of agreement and that is success.”

Here is what India and the other developing nations had to compromise on:

  • The original UN convention had a stronger language on developed world providing climate finance. Experts say current text is weaker. It also leaves room for confusion on what can be counted as climate funding – for example, developmental aid or loans can be counted as climate finance. Mr Javadekar, too, said the agreement could have been more ambitious as the actions of developed nations are “far below” than their historical responsibilities and fair shares. Most civil society experts say the dilution was made following tremendous pressure from US – which is facing issues with domestic politics – and an umbrella group of developed nations.
  • Paris agreement says all parties — including developing nations — must take action to cut emissions. This means makes developing nations must take on additional obligations.
  • For developing countries, intellectual property rights barriers to transfer technology from rich countries were important. But the Paris text is more about cooperation in technology.
  • In terms of loss and damage, the text says these will not be seen in terms for liability and compensation, so developed countries will not have no real obligation.

This is what India and the developing nations achieved:

  • Managed to put back the important principle of equity and “common but differentiated responsibilities” in text, which India has been pushing for. The US and developed nations wanted to dilute this plank.
  • Though developed countries use fossil fuel — coal and gas — they wanted developing countries to cut emissions. It is still not clear if the developed nations will be forthcoming with funds and technology for clean energy or the modalities if they do.  
  • The big challenge met was ensuring the agreement established the idea of climate justice – acknowledging that industrialised nations have been the major emitters since 1850.
  • India also wanted a mention of sustainable lifestyle and consumption, which is there in the text.

Note that “the big challenge met was ensuring the agreement established the idea of climate justice – acknowledging that industrialised nations have been the major emitters since 1850”.

If the Paris non-agreement reduces the alarmist hysteria, it would have achieved a great deal. It could provide a better atmosphere and time for acknowledging the politically incorrect reality that man-made emissions are of little significance in influencing the climate. The Agreement does no good, but at least it does not do much harm either. A Feel Good irrelevance.

Paris climate conference to be subdued after G20 summit skips over contentious issues

November 17, 2015

The G20 summit in Turkey was completely dominated by the issue of combating ISIS terrorism and never got around to discussing the contentious climate conference issues separating the developing from the developed countries. In fact they got stuck on whether the goal of keeping to less than 2ºC warming by the end of the century should be referred to or not. India and Saudi Arabia opposed the motion but eventually gave way. There was little time to discuss much more and the critical issues of financing the “good fight” and whether even developing countries should make larger emissions cuts were hardly addressed.

ClimateChangeNews reports:

Campaigners looking to this weekend’s G20 leaders meeting in Antalya, Turkey, for progress on the climate agenda have been left disappointed.

In a statement on Monday, the group of major economies reiterated their commitment to a 2C limit on global warming and to phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies.

There was little sign of convergence on contentious issues ahead of December’s UN climate summit in Paris: how to ramp up ambition, share responsibility between rich and poor, and get finance flowing. 

India and Saudi Arabia reportedly objected to a review mechanism that would require countries to regularly update their climate plans. The EU is pushing for five-yearly reviews, a proposal recently endorsed by China.

“The only thing G20 leaders had to say on climate was ‘see you at the climate summit’,” said Oxfam’s Steve Price-Thomas.

The Climate conference starts on November 30th in Paris and after the terrorist killings is likely to dispense with much of the circus and side-meetings that normally accompany these jamborees. The French Prime Minister confirmed that things would be subdued

A series of events linked to a UN climate summit in Paris in two weeks will be cancelled over security fears, Manuel Valls told local radio on Monday morning.

The conference will be “reduced to the negotiation” with “concerts and festive events” likely to be called off in the wake of the country’s worst ever terrorist attack, the country’s prime minister told RTL. 

Valls did not specify whether that included a mass demonstration planned by activists on the eve of the summit on 29 November.

Despite the attack, no country or head of state had asked France to postpone the summit, he added.

More than 100 world leaders are due to open the COP21 negotiations on Monday 30 November, at Le Bourget airport on the outskirts of the city.

Organisers are expecting over 40,000 delegates a a day at the critical conference, where a global warming pact is to be finalised.

In parallel, several civil society and business groups had planned side events around Paris.

In my opinion the COP21 Climate conference is rather pointless and misguided. China and India have already got what they want in terms of freedom to use fossil fuels virtually without restriction. The world would be better off with the whole event being cancelled, not that there was – or is – any chance of that happening.

Lima Climate conference agreement contains no commitments by anybody

December 16, 2014

The UN Conference of the Parties, Twentieth session, held in Lima Peru from 1st to 13th December 2014 is now over. The conference agreement is well worth reading as an  example of how an exercise with 9,000 delegates from 196 participating countries, could spend some $ 50 million over 2 weeks to accomplish – by their own expectations – absolutely nothing. The only decision of any significance to be taken by the parties is to meet again.

COP20 Lima Agreement (pdf)

But all 9,000 had a great time.

(In my judgement, the lack of accomplishment was a great success).

The agreement contains 22 clauses:

  • one clause “confirms”
  • three clauses “decide”
  • three clauses “agree”

All the remaining clauses are merely wishes and hopes with no commitments or obligations. Just waffle.

  • one clause “underscores”
  • one clause “urges”
  • one clause “acknowledges”
  • one clause “invites”
  • one clause “encourages”
  • one clause “welcomes”
  • two clauses “note”
  • three clauses “request”
  • four clauses “reiterate”

Looking just at the clauses which “confirm”, “decide” or “agree”:

The only “confirmation” comes first in the agreement and it is to meet again for COP 21 and adopt another agreement! Just a self-serving clause perpetuating the meetings.

The three “decides” also commit to nothing very much. The first “decides that any protocol which is legally binding shall be balanced. (This is a wonderful loophole. Any country which believes the protocol to be unbalanced can then ignore it). The next “decide” is that the working group will make a draft text. (The purpose of this is to make sure that all those working on this text can get paid). The third rather long “decide” only says that a technical examination will continue. Wow! But note that it establishes a framework – and thereby the funding – for “a series of in-session technical expert meetings”. Meetings galore – and the delegates shall have a great time.

There are also three “agree” clauses. The first says that all parties agree that each party will do better in the future. The second merely says that all developing countries and small island states may make special pleadings. The third says that each party may provide quantifiable information on how they intend to contribute. Not a commitment or obligation in sight.

It really is time that these meetings ceased and the IPCC was disbanded.

The clauses (my bold)


  1. Confirms that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action shall complete the work referred to in decision 1/CP.17, paragraph 2, as early as possible in order for the Conference of the Parties at its twenty-first session to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties;


  1. Decides that the protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with egal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties shall address in a balanced manner, inter alia, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building, and transparency of action and support;
  2. Decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action will intensify its work, with a view to making available a negotiating text for a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties before May 2015;
  3. Decides to continue the technical examination of opportunities with high mitigation potential, including those with adaptation, health and sustainable development co-benefits, in the period 2015–2020, by requesting the secretariat to:
    (a) Organize a series of in-session technical expert meetings which:
    (i) Facilitate Parties in the identification of policy options, practices and technologies and in planning for their implementation in accordance with nationally defined development priorities;
    (ii) Build on and utilize the related activities of, and further enhance collaboration and synergies among, the Technology Executive Committee, the Climate Technology Centre and Network, the Durban Forum on capacity-building, the Executive Board of the clean development mechanism and the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism;
    (iii) Build on previous technical expert meetings in order to hone and focus on actionable policy options;
    (iv) Provide meaningful and regular opportunities for the effective engagement of experts from Parties, relevant international organizations, civil society, indigenous peoples, women, youth, academic institutions, the private sector, and subnational authorities nominated by their respective countries;
    (v) Support the accelerated implementation of policy options and enhanced mitigation action, including through international cooperation;
    (vi) Facilitate the enhanced engagement of all Parties through the announcement of topics to be addressed, agendas and related materials at least two months in advance of technical expert meetings;
    (b) Update, following the technical expert meetings referred to in paragraph 19(a) above, the technical paper on the mitigation benefits of actions, and on initiatives and options to enhance mitigation ambition, compiling information provided in submissions from Parties and observer organizations and the discussions held at the technical expert meetings and drawing on other relevant information on the implementation of policy options at all levels, including through multilateral cooperation;
    (c) Disseminate the information referred to in paragraph 19(b) above, including
    by publishing a summary for policymakers;


  1. Agrees that each Party’s intended nationally determined contribution towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2 will represent a progression beyond the current undertaking of that Party;
  2. Also agrees that the least developed countries and small island developing States
    may communicate information on strategies, plans and actions for low greenhouse gas emission development reflecting their special circumstances in the context of intended nationally determined contributions;
  3. Agrees that the information to be provided by Parties communicating their intended nationally determined contributions, in order to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding, may include, as appropriate, inter alia, quantifiable information on the reference point (including, as appropriate, a base year), time frames and/or periods for implementation, scope and coverage, planning processes, assumptions and methodological approaches including those for estimating and accounting for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and, as appropriate, removals, and how the Party considers that its intended nationally determined contribution is fair and ambitious, in light of its national circumstances, and how it contributes towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2;

What a waste for a pointless exercise where the key action item (carbon dioxide) has no significant impact on the parameter ostensibly to be controlled. No targets, no tools but a great deal of arrogance.

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