Optimism not enough to ensure Paris climate deal - Macleans.ca

Optimism not enough to ensure Paris climate deal

A stack of stumbling blocks are threatening to sink what began as a promising negotiation at COP21 in Paris

A car is submerged amidst water-logged houses in a rain-hit area of Chennai on November 17, 2015.   India has deployed the army and air force to rescue flood-hit residents in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where at least 71 people have died in around a week of torrential rains.  (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A car is submerged amidst water-logged houses in a rain-hit area of Chennai on November 17, 2015. India has deployed the army and air force to rescue flood-hit residents in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where at least 71 people have died in around a week of torrential rains. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

World leaders made sweeping pronouncements Monday, and environmentalists sounded more optimistic than they’ve been in years. But all the hopeful rhetoric and dire warnings about the imminent threat to the planet haven’t so far translated into progress at the Paris climate conference.

The group to watch at the talks is known as ADP—the abbreviation for a wonderfully bureaucratic UN-style name, the ad-hoc working group on the Durban platform for enhanced action. That group of officials is supposed to clean up the 54-page proposed agreement text by Saturday to get it in shape for higher-level officials to work off in the second week of talks. Plenty of lines in the text have bracketed phrases to indicate the negotiators can’t agree on them. But after two days of negotiations, they’ve actually added bracketed parts, not eliminated them, said Green Leader Elizabeth May, who is in Paris and watching the discussion.

At the core of these debates is the divide between rich and poor: generally, developed countries are responsible for the bulk of the greenhouse gas production that has warmed the world so far. Burning fossil fuels got them to where they are. But they tend to have smaller populations and are emitting less than some of the emerging economies with huge populations, like India and China. At the same time, the emerging economies are still building their industries and don’t want to give up a chance at the kind of growth that could put them on par with the developed world.

Related: Hot air at the Paris climate summit

The first possible stumbling block in the negotiations is the question of financing for the world’s poorest countries, which are often the most affected by climate change but less able to afford to mitigate and adapt to the effects. At the Copenhagen conference in 2009, developed countries like Canada promised to provide a total of $100 billion a year to help with adaptation (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau followed through on that commitment last week when he promised $2.65 billion over five years). But the developed countries haven’t hit that target. And that pledge doesn’t deal with funding after 2020, so the poorer countries are looking for ongoing contributions.

A key question within that debate is how to deal with emerging economies like Singapore or Saudi Arabia, said Alex Doukas, a senior campaigner for Oil Change International, a group that wants to see less reliance on fossil fuels.

“What constitutes a country that should be on the hook for some of the poorer countries or some of the countries that are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change?” he said. “There are some actors who need to be probably stepping up and playing a bit of a different role.”

Related: Expectations build for Canada at Paris’s now-or-never climate summit

The next possible stumbling block is the question of “ratcheting up” and periodic review where countries would re-evaluate their targets and increase their goals.

The U.S. and Brazil, among other countries, have set targets for 2025, five years after the Paris agreement kicks in. Others, including Canada, have just set a 2030 goal.

“I think there’s broad convergence around the notion that there absolutely do need to be successive rounds of contributions,” said Todd Stern, the U.S. envoy for climate change. “Otherwise we would be looking at a kind of one-off agreement. I think that’s not what people have in mind.”

An early debate centred around whether the targets should be binding. Most countries, including Canada, have given up on that since the Americans don’t think they could get a legally binding agreement through Congress. But, said John Drexhage, a former Canadian negotiator in Paris the EU, Russia and the small-island states still think it’s an important measure to follow the talks.

Related: UN climate summit: Legally bound but not ‘legally binding’

“Developing countries want to have legally binding for developed countries. They’ll never accept them for themselves,” said Drexhage, who is now a senior advisor to Coop Carbone, a Quebec group that advocates for green technology to cut emissions.

Finally, Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is among those pushing regular reporting and review of how countries are doing. But the idea of measurement, reporting and verification is tricky because China, one of the world’s big emitters, has never agreed to the kind of independent monitoring outlined in the proposed agreement.

It’s early in the talks, but the lack of progress is not a good sign for those who want an ambitious agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Most observers seem to agree that there will be some kind of deal; the question is whether it will be good enough to keep the planet from overheating.


Optimism not enough to ensure Paris climate deal

  1. Climate warming zealots have never been able to answer a key question I believe they should. That is why, long before man ever lit the first fire, have there been several cooling followed by warming periods-they are called the ice ages. This natural cycle has everything to do with solar activity and the cyclical changing position of the Earth relative to the sun and net to nothing to do with man made CO2.
    Here’s hoping this scam gets the lack of attention it deserves.

    • I have know idea who the “climate warming zealots” are, but you might want to consult the scientific literature – you’ll find that climate scientists do deal with those questions.
      But that has little to due with the current warming, which is indeed caused by man’s pumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

        • If Patrick Moore has written has any climate expertise or has written a single paper on the subject, I’d love to see it.
          In fact, you claim he’s a scientist – do you have any evidence that he’s practiced any science or published a single paper in any field since he got his degree 40 years ago?

          • Do you think he just made up all of the data he displayed in his presentation? Or did you even look at it? His data is displayed and compelling. Many of the “scientists” you
            apparently believe just spew rhetoric, Regardless, the most sensible solution is to adapt to the impacts of a rising temperature then both our beliefs get covered. If,on the other hand, a bunch of money is spent reducing man made CO2 and that does nothing, as I believe will be the case, what a waste of limited resources.

          • Tresus wrote:

            “In fact, you claim he’s a scientist – do you have any evidence that he’s practiced any science or published a single paper in any field since he got his degree 40 years ago?”

            Well…I guess that pretty much puts an end to David Suzuki’s credibility as well. he hasn’t done any science since 1961. And suzuki’s education is so far out of date now, he’s not credible on that topic either. he was a geneticist. If you want to know how fruit flies fuuck, then Dave’s your guy. However, if you want to know anything about the climate…..you would do better by simply opening a window and having a look.

            As for Moore, he was an original founder of Greenpeace; not that this matter much now.

          • ” Many of the “scientists” you apparently believe just spew rhetoric,”

            Sure Jerome. Just ‘rhetoric’ and hundreds of peer-reviewed papers.

            Patrick Moore spews….video presentations.
            If Patrick Moore has something to add to the science, why is it that he hasn’t produced a single, solitary paper?

          • That’s right James. Suzuki isn’t an climate change expert and he doesn’t pretend to be. He makes it entirely clear that he leaves climate scientists to the experts.

            You are the perfect opposite – you don’t have a single paper to your credit or any expertise in any science and you have a better understanding of the topic than the world’s climate scientists. Kudos!

      • Tresus,

        You are incapable of complex thought. One doesn’t expect you to try and think on your own. Just cuddle up to the rest of the lemmings on the bandwagon.

        thinking for yourself is far to difficult for us to expect you to attempt. Just sit there and try not to notice the temperature hasn’t changed.

        • “The temperature hasn’t changed.”

          Write that paper!

          • No need for me to write a paper Tresus,

            The IPCC has already confirmed what I wrote. There has been no rise in Global temps since 1998, and even then, there is no evidence it was caused by humans. I know that facts don’t matter to you, but 30 years from now…when nothing has changed, I’m sure you will still be convinced you were right all along.

            by the way Tresus…when a paper is “peer reviewed” by the same group of folks drinking from the same bathwater, it means nothing.

          • “The IPCC has already confirmed what I wrote.”

            Uh, no.

            “It is certain that Global Mean Surface Temperature has increased since the late 19th century. Each of the past three decades has been successively warmer
            at the Earth’s surface than all the previous decades in the instrumental record, and the first decade of the 21st century has been the warmest. ”

            But I would never try to tell you what’s true in your imagination.

      • These folks could have joined the lemmings and received a lot of funding. Instead, because they
        have data which makes the climate warming matter bogus, they are considered deniers. They
        should be considered as saviors.

        • Heh.
          Patrick Moore, with absolutely no expertise, training, or papers to his name could have received a lot of funding.
          The best part is that you really believe this.

          Don’t worry, Patrick Moore is receiving funding. Despite his complete lack of expertise or credentials, this is how he makes his living.

          • Umm..tresus,

            Patrick Moore has a PHD in Ecology, and a B Sc in forest biology. He is also a well known environmentalist……

            Not exactly a shill for the oil companies; though his opponents try to make it out like that.

          • And there’s no evidence he’s practiced or produced a paper in either field since he graduated 40 years ago. Never mind trying to claim that he has some sort of expertise in climate science.

          • Tresus,

            Don’t worry about “papers” as evidence of credibiility, as there are hundreds or thousands of published “Papers” that have not only been proven deficient, but that were indeed published with the full knowledge that they were inaccurate, or just an outright fraud. (east Anglia emails confirm).

            If you want Evidence, you may have to (reluctantly) rely on your own senses. I know that you prefer to have someone else provide your thinking…but try this.

            1. go to a window.
            2. Open it.
            3. Stick your head out.
            4. Make observation.

            I know that this may be difficult for someone like you Tresus, but give it a shot in any event.

  2. Laura Payton:

    In your years of covering the “global warming” narrative, have you (or your collegues) ever ONCE bothered to speak with a “denier?”

    I think we both know the answer to that. In case you are unware, there are thousands of scientists (and I mean REAL scientists…not the Suzukie/Weaver types you find in Canada) who question the current alarmist story.

    I don’t think you would bother, as I am sure you are 100% certain of your ideas; no facts may intrude.

    do you job as a journalist, and look at something that doesn’t already “fit” what you believe.

    Global warming has been going on for millions of years, and it is not a suddenly occurring thing caused by human kind. Follow the money. It doesn’t lead to the oil companies.

    Here’s a good start.


    the look up Lord Moncton, or simply try google. The resources are out there if you would bother looking. In fact, there is a counter-alarmist group in paris right now put on by the heartland institute. They will have many scientists speaking about the climate, and why the story today is so wrong.

    but then again, doing that would require actual work; whereas simply spouting off the same garbage as everyone else makes it so much easier to meet the deadlines.

    Good luck.

    • You can tell Andrew Weaver isn’t a real scientist because he’s just got a Doctoral degree and hundreds of peer-reviewed climate and earth-science papers to his credit, while Monckton has a journalism degree and has cured AIDS.

      Watching apparently grown men willing to believe anything to avoid responsibility has got to be one of the most entertaining things on the internet.

      • that is your biggest problem Tresus….you look at the initials behind a person’s name. when in fact, you should actually be listening to what they are saying.

        this seems to be the limit’s to which you reach to come to your conclusions.

        Someone said X…..this someone has a PHD. A bunch of other folks say X is right, therefore, there is no reason for me to extend the effort to consider what is being said. In fact Tresus, you seem to be one of those folks who believe that your betters should do all the thinking for you. No wonder your a Liberal / NDP.

        Much easier to let someone else make the effort.

        You’re a sad little man…..lol

        • “when in fact, you should actually be listening to what they are saying. ”

          Yes. What is said in a career worth of published paper’s in his field vs a claim to have overturned the scientific consensus in climate change and cured AIDS without a paper to back any of it up.

          What to choose….so …….hard……hahahahaha!

          • Thank you for making my point, Tresus……

            the temperature HAS NOT CHANGED, and yet you continue to believe whatever the “experts” decide to show you.

            By the way, you do realize that many of the numbers presented by the IPCC for public consumption have been “fudged” or found to be fraudulent by independent peer review correct?

            but you just keep ignoring it…..you are just one of many who will look like idiots (too late..you already do) years from now. this whole “CLIMATE CHANGE” episode will be up there with the War of the Worlds scare of Orson Welles.

            future generations will wonder where all of these crazy fools came from, and how they could have been so wrong.

          • “the temperature HAS NOT CHANGED”

            Right. I remember. As you said “The IPCC has already confirmed” that. But then we saw that this was BS:
            “It is certain that Global Mean Surface Temperature has increased since the late 19th century. Each of the past three decades has been successively warmer
            at the Earth’s surface than all the previous decades in the instrumental record, and the first decade of the 21st century has been the warmest. ”

            Hard to keep track of fabrications, I guess.

          • Tresus,

            Are you REALLY that much of an idiot, or are you pretending. THe entire debate is surrounding the KNOWN FACT that much of what the IPCC has presented the public has been fraudulent, or simply incorrect. THESE ARE KNOWN WIDELY BY EVERYONE.

            And yet what do you do?

            You try to back up your argument by linking to the fraudsters.

            Absolutely brilliant.

            If you ever have an original thought of your own, duffus….mark the date in your calendar. LOL

    • Denfinitely.
      You can tell he’s a real journalist because he doesn’t bother with ‘climate scientists’ and ‘experts’ and just makes it up himself.
      That’s REAL hardworking journalism!

      • Tresus,
        I assume that the 31,000 scientists who believe man does not contribute to any warming are just idiots-regardless of their work being peer reviewed.
        Go off and rejoin the global warming lemmings-there will be a bunch of very disappointed ones returning from Paris.
        You are a wise man!!

      • Tresus,

        I can’t say I’m surprised at your stupidity, as I have seen it many times before. the IPCC has been wrong in every one of their predicitions; and they know it. that is why they look for excuses for their failure. Climate models aren’t working? Hmm….that’s because the oceans are absorbing the CO2 and becoming more acidic. What? You meausred the oceans and didn’t see any acidification on par with what we predicted? Hmm…umm..well, that’s because the CO2 must be sinking too deep to measure, and that is where the heat we predicted must be going as well !! WHAT!!…you measured the deep oceans and didn’t find any evidence of what we predicted? ??? Hnmmmmm…well….well……dammit. Guess what?

        “2015 has been the warmest year on record !!..so there” Now give us $100 Billion to spread around. And don’t dare ask for evidence, or we’ll send you to see Mike Mann…and he’ll take you to court when you show him to be full of crap.

        yeah tresus…..great bunch of minds you’ve hooked up with there. but hey, at least compared to you…..they do look pretty clever.

        • Except that everything you wrote above is just nonsense you made up, while the IPCC report is the result of hundreds of studies and data sets.
          Those poor scientists are condemned to live in the real world, while jameshalifax lives in his imagination. That’s why there’s never any citations.
          How can you cite your imagination?

          • CAPAX,
            Now that’s quite a statement- “Except that everything you wrote above is just nonsense you made up.” We keep giving you papers and articles to read which we sure didn’t “make up” but you won’t take the time to read any of it.
            The latest news from Paris as spoken by the chairperson, “Even if there is no warming we should work to get off of fossils fuels because they are a finite resource.” You think she just blinked?? Good suggestion from her for 300 years from now!!

          • Uh, no.
            Neither of you have posted one single paper here, let alone one that supports anything jameshalfax wrote.
            You know that newspaper and video editorials aren’t science papers, don’t you?

          • Tresus,

            the “science papers” you seem to rely on, are wrong. Much of what has been published, has been disputed or found to have been fabricated from faulty proxy data.

            I know you find it difficult Tresus….but try and THINK what you are being fed. And here’s a hint: If what you are told has been wrong 100% of the time, then perhaps it is time for you to start questioning what you are being told.

            I know you won’t do it, but hey, we tried.

            And for the record, you will NEVER see any papers published that dispute global warming, as the folks who determine what will be published are too invested in the alarmists theories. To puplish something that goes against the narrative, will show readers just how corrupted science has become. As you know, many folks in the science community today, are more interested in their reputations (and funding) than they are in science.

            Frankly, given the quality of work from fraudsters like Mann, Weaver, et al………personal verification is the most reliable form of education.

  3. wow the warministas are out in force – one cannot win with them – it is indeed an issue of faith – empirical evidence or critical thinking need not apply. The true tragedy remains these well -meaning woolly headed folks spend so much energy (adding to AGW?) to a myth where they could invest in going after true man-made issues affecting our world – e.g. Fuku Flu – fracking – GMOs – bio/pharma/nano pollutants – the most rabid of these carbonazis are usually the best $upported by those wanting to tax and control the sheeple – don’t help them. The cognoscenti remain in stitches.

    • You’ve got it ass-backwards, christopher. There are great volumes of scientific literature supporting the consensus on climate change, while deniers have lots of energy to talk, but not so much to back it up with any science.

      • Tresus,

        YOu have been given multiple links, from multiple sources…..from multiple posters on this site. Unfortunately, your laziness extends beyond the effort required to click the links and actually read them.

        No doubt due to the fact that you wouldn’t understand what you are reading in any event.

        best of luck.

  4. Donald and Daisy Duck along with Mickey and Minnie Mouse sit down with their kids every Saturday morning and watch us for laughs on their TV’s…….you see all these comments prove we’re the cartoons and they’re real..