mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Road to Paris
Climate Summit Draft Document Still “Bewildering”

Ah, the wages of the UN treaty process: The current text of the climate change accord being negotiated by ministers of 200 countries ahead of December’s much-anticipated Paris summit is a “bewildering” 85 pages of various options and special pleadings, according to sources. Reuters reports:

The message from this week’s two-day gathering in Paris of around 40 countries’ delegations, including 26 with ministers, and an earlier meeting of the world’s major economies was that the negotiating text should be short – around 40 pages – and ambitious, de Brum said. […]

The co-chairs will find it hard to chop the text by half, as they have no mandate to weed out options.

Negotiators are hard at work to cut the document down, but are finding it difficult to do so. A climate change consultant is quoted in Reuters as saying, “the co-chairs have a very delicate balance to keep—they can’t cut large swathes of the text because they don’t want to alienate countries, but we do need manageable options for ministers to choose from.”

This isn’t a new problem. This spring, negotiators were already trying to pare down clauses and simplify the document, but they’ve clearly made precious little progress. With the talks just over four months away, everyone involved seems to be doing everything possible to lower expectations, from floating an alternative plan that legally binds member states to set targets but allows them to decide how they meet them, to abandoning the much-discussed 2C target, to the UN climate chief herself saying that whatever Paris produces will be more “enabling” than “punitive” (read: non-binding).

Stalling momentum, a bloated document, and shifting goals? That seems like all the necessary ingredients for a Copenhagen-like fiasco. We’ll be watching.

Features Icon
show comments
  • John WB

    Let’s hope it is as big a failure as Copenhagen, then perhaps we will be spared the endless junk science currently being foisted upon the world by a bunch of failed scientists.

    • Andrew Allison

      There’s not the slightest doubt that it will be as big a fiasco as Copenhagen and every other such boondoggle.

      • davidhouston

        However, Obama is committed to signing it as part of His Legacy. So lookout for the large bribes of foreign aid to accomplish this. Copenhagen collapsed because most of the undeveloped countries wanted more money.

        • Andrew Allison

          I’m glad to see you acknowledge the God-like nature (at least in his own mind) of our illustrious President [grin]!

  • Rick Johnson

    A big failure will be humanity’s best outcome. At least the delegates will get to enjoy some shopping in Paris as a reward for flying from all around the world in CO2 emitting planes. I hope that is some consolation for the poor petals.

  • William Ockham

    At this late date it’s obvious that we need a Plan B. The burden sharing and shifting between the nations to get an actual reduction in CO2 levels is too painful to be enacted much take effect. No cuts will be made. In the same manner as the Iran treaty it will come to nothing. The Iranians will get their nuclear bombs and the world will get more carbon dioxide. We’ll have to live with both. Some of the young geniuses that founded Microsoft have a plan for “synthetic” volcanos releasing gases that would block sunlight. And there’s always nuclear energy. Desperate measures but at least they can be done unilaterally.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service