Wednesday, December 16, 2015

COP21 in Paris—did they save the world?

The champions.  Don't laugh—these guys just saved the world...NOT

There has been a bunch of self-congratulatory bilge coming from the major participants of COP 21.  Considering the task, there was almost no hope that anything meaningful could have happened in Paris.  Setting targets is a LONG way from marshaling the resources, plans, and organizational ability to accomplish a task and unfortunately, Paris was about setting targets.  How those targets would be met in a world where the economic rules are set by criminals and every honest citizen is a target of those crooks never seems to be mentioned.  And so 40,000 people climb into jets and go home to wonder just HOW real reductions of CO2 can be had.

It's not like we haven't seen this act before.  I was especially incensed by the sheer goofiness of the Durban conference in 2011.  They also had a picture of self-congratulatory joy.

Just a quick reminder of what that conference accomplished

There were other critiques of COP21.  Lots of agendas out there and Paris offered plenty of grindstones for the various axes.

Here we have Mark Hertsgaard over at the Nation complain about the lack of human rights language.

Scientists Warn: The Paris Climate Agreement Needs Massive Improvement

The current text doesn’t even mention “fossil fuels” and lacks strong language on human rights.

By Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation, DECEMBER 11, 2015
The NYT seems to think they did a splendid job in Paris—good enough reason to suspect that nothing major will change.

Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris

CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times, DEC. 12, 2015

LE BOURGET, France — With the sudden bang of a gavel Saturday night, representatives of 195 nations reached a landmark accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change.

The deal, which was met with an eruption of cheers and ovations from thousands of delegates gathered from around the world, represents a historic breakthrough on an issue that has foiled decades of international efforts to address climate change.
The folks outside the conference hall seemed to think that the agreements did not go far enough.  They are right, of course.

Protesters Are in Agreement as Well: Pact Is Too Weak

By ALISSA J. RUBIN and ELIAN PELTIER, New York Times, DEC. 12, 2015

PARIS — Several thousand climate activists from across Europe and many from farther afield gathered peacefully near the Arc de Triomphe on Saturday to protest the outcome of the COP 21 climate conference about 12 miles away.

The demonstration was an official exception to a ban on public gatherings across France after the Paris terrorist attacks in November.

Even as the delegates at the official conference center reached a landmark accord and applauded their achievement, the crowds on the street made clear their belief that it would take much more than the measures in the deal to halt global climate change.

“We don’t like the COP 21,” said Joseph Purugganan, who came from the Philippines to participate in the demonstration with other activists from a coalition called Focus on the Global South.

“The message here is that the real solution will come from the people,” he said. “After 20 years of COPs, look at where we are.”
A pointed exercise in realism.  Yes, COP21 is barely a start in any direction that would help the situation.

The Paris Climate Accords Will Cause the Planet to Burn


The Paris agreement, according to Pablo Solón, a veteran of climate negotiations, “will be an agreement that will burn up the planet.”

The result of the COP21 (Twenty-first United Nations Climate Change Conference), which began on Monday, Nov. 30 and will end on Dec. 11, “can already be announced, because we already know what it will be,” he said in an interview with the Americas Program.

“Here in Paris, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is not being negiotiated under criteria of climate justice or climate science. All that’s being done is taking note of the promises of each country and adding them up,” said the former Bolivian ambassador.

Nearly all of the world’s countries– about 186 to date– have promised to reduce emissions. The official report of these promises, when seen as a global plan, constitutes an announcement of disaster.

The challenge set in 2009 in Copenhagen was to avoid exceeding 2 degrees Celsius of global warming. The official report would mean an increase in global temperature of between 2.7 and 3.9 degrees Celsius. In other words, actual warming could reach double of what was established as the maximum limit.

“And 2 degrees Celsius was the roof of the roof, because many countries have warned that even with a 1.5 degree warming their countries could disappear, especially many island nations. With the Paris agreement, warming is going to reach more than double that figure.”

“But there is another report that says: careful, it could be even 5 degrees Celsius. Many think that we are negotiating contributions to emissions reductions, but that is not the case. That is not being negotiated. This is a farce, a scam. I can’t think of another way to say it.” more

Paris Climate Deal: How Could They Do This to Us?


On Sunday morning, 13 December 2015, the 2015 Paris Climate Summit (COP21) finally wound to close as the last decisions were agreed. At almost 1 a.m. observers representing youth, women, labour unions, research centers, indigenous peoples, and business were asked their opinion. Most media had already left COP21. Cleaners were dismantling the massive structures that had been erected to house thousands of conference participants for two weeks plus two overrun days. The Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change had finished their work, late as usual and with an usual outcome.

To his credit, COP21 President, former French Prime Minster and currently French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius returned to the Hall in the closing minutes to listen to the voices of the observers who he had banned from the negotiations two weeks earlier. One could see the consternation on his face as several observers lambasted the agreement for being too little too late. The youth for example, all but called Fabius a traitor to their generation and pledged to continue to work for the future their leaders had failed to ensure them. The business or BINGO constituency was the lone exception. For them the agreement meant more business opportunities and that the commodification of the planet was guaranteed, at least for near term corporate profits.

Fabius had been grinning like a Cheshire cat a few hours earlier as he graveled down the adoption of the Paris Agreement. It was irrelevant that he had done so without acknowledging the States seeking the floor either in the preliminary drafting Comité de Paris or in the plenary COP21 which convened in record time immediately afterwards. Like the scenes from Sorcosse movies that donned the walls of the Paris train station Gare de Lyon, the celebration in the makeshift Conference Hall in the northern Paris suburb of Le Bourget seemed perfectly scripted. more

James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks 'a fraud'

The former Nasa scientist criticizes the talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, as ‘no action, just promises’

‘Many of the conservatives know climate change is not a hoax,’ James Hansen says.

12 December 2015

Mere mention of the Paris climate talks is enough to make James Hansen grumpy. The former Nasa scientist, considered the father of global awareness of climate change, is a soft-spoken, almost diffident Iowan. But when he talks about the gathering of nearly 200 nations, his demeanor changes.

“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

The talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, have spent much time and energy on two major issues: whether the world should aim to contain the temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels, and how much funding should be doled out by wealthy countries to developing nations that risk being swamped by rising seas and bashed by escalating extreme weather events.

But, according to Hansen, the international jamboree is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions aren’t taxed across the board. He argues that only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst ravages of climate change. more

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