COP 21 agrees on draft climate agreement, divisions remain

Week one of COP 21, the UN climate conference in Paris, concluded with the adoption of a draft “outcome.”  You can read it at CFACT.org.

This was the must-have first step if the UN is to have a chance of adopting a full treaty this week.

While the COP (Conference of the Parties) reached a milestone, the draft is riddled with unresolved divisive issues. The draft contains multiple versions of many key provisions within square brackets and placeholders for future text.

For instance, did the UN adopt a draft of a binding treaty or a toothless nonbinding agreement? No one in Paris can say for sure.

Resolving these disputes is what the negotiators in Paris will be working on as they reconvene at a ministerial level.

It remains to be seen whether the COP can bridge all divides and agree to a final text.

Two factors argue the UN might pull it off.

The U.S. never ratified the the Kyoto Protocol, the prior UN climate treaty. The negotiators in Paris want a great deal of money from the U.S. under a new climate regime. With the scientific evidence mounting against the UN’s position on global warming, and U.S. elections looming, they are well aware that their best chance is to adopt something now, with Barack Obama still in office.

With no chance of the U.S. Senate ratifying a climate treaty, the key goal of U.S. negotiators is to attempt to get a nonbinding agreement they can try and slip past the Senate without a vote.

Also, with France as host countCOP 21 Fabiusry, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, a Socialist, presides over the COP. He is using the host country’s influence over the agenda to push the treaty along with a firmer hand than the UN has seen in the past.

Here are some of the unresolved divisive issues the ministers face during COP 21 week two:

Binding treaty or nonbinding agreement

The draft agreement is filled with “shalls.” Any lawyer will tell you that “shall” is the word they use when an agreement requires that something must be done, while words such as “may,” or “should” are what they use to make things optional. However, if this text keeps all those “shalls,” yet fails to adopt a mandatory compliance scheme with genuine consequences for non-compliance, how binding or effective the agreement will be remains arguable.

The U.S. is pushing for binding requirements for reporting and transparency, but nonbinding emissions commitments. The Obama team hopes to argue that this is enough to avoid submitting the document to the Senate. If COP 21 adopts this outcome it will cause substantial legal wrangling in the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that the COP 21 outcome will be nonbinding as if that is a foregone conclusion. This came as a surprise to leaders of other nations. It will be interesting to see what other nations want more; a binding treaty, or the U.S. on board. Considering the money at stake, CFACT suspects the latter.

Differentiated responsibility

The COP 21 draft outcome calls for nations to accept “differentiated responsibilities.” This means everything from redistribution of wealth from developed to developing nations, to developed nations reducing their emissions while others continue to increase theirs.

China and India are building new coal plants as fast as their economies will allow. China is already the world’s largest emitter of CO2. Developing nations inserted language into the draft outcome stating “that the share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs.”

Developing nations are more than prepared to replace any emissions reductions by developed countries with new emissions of their own.

Temperature target

Although the number is largely arbitrary, for years the UCOP 21 HollandeN has mainly discussed crafting an agreement designed to hold global temperature increase to two degrees Celsius. That the climate models projecting that rise have been so terribly inaccurate is not up for discussion. Last week in a speech, French President Francois Hollande suddenly used the far stricter goal of limiting temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C. This was hailed by more radical elements as a major victory. The new draft replaces the two degree goal with either the 1.5 degree goal, or “well below 2° C above preindustrial levels.” Others jumped aboard the 1.5 degree bandwagon including Germany and South Africa, and over the weekend, Australia.

Pursuing the two degree goal will lead to tremendous economic costs, a radical reduction of living standards in the developing world, and a major transfer of national sovereignty from nations to the UN. Pursuing the 1.5 degree goal is a far more draconian undertaking than that half degree would seem to indicate at first glance. It would require a radical transformation of our economic system and way of life in ways free citizens would never approve if they fully understood.

Developing nations are quite willing to vote for the 1.5 degree target so long as it is clear that their “differentiated responsibilities” mean that the U.S. and other prosperous nations will do all the cutting.

Zero emissions

Still under discussion, the COP 21 draft outcome contains a potential goal of “achieving zero global GHG (green house gas) emission by 2060-2080.” Actually (rather than pretending) to pursue this goal would also require a radical and painful transformation unless major technological breakthroughs are made, in for instance, fusion power. Inefficient and expensive alternatives such as wind and solar show no signs of ever rising to the task.

Loss and damage

At COP 19 in Warsaw, developing nations made a major push to require developed nations to accept liability for their weather-related “loss and damage.” At the time the PhilippinesCOP 18 Phillipines delegate Naderev Sano tear filled speech CFACT had just suffered major damage from Typhoon Haiyan and its lead negotiator, Yeb Sano, staged hunger strike at the COP. Scientific and historical analysis of the typhoon shows no meaningful connection to global warming, however, the emotional appeal was powerful. The COP 21 draft outcome calls for loss and damage in several places and includes an open-ended provision to adopt loss and damage and “risk transfer” schemes after the Warsaw model. Unless developed nations are careful, they could eventually find themselves financially liable for extreme weather losses by poorer nations for which they bear no actual responsibility.

Climate tribunal

The draft outcome continues to feature an “International Tribunal of Climate Justice” designed to “address cases of non-compliance with the commitments of developed country Parties.” Developing nations would sit on the tribunal, but their commitments would not be subject to it. The draft contains the option to substitute the less frightening term compliance “mechanism,” however, that would also amount to developing nations sitting in judgment over developed nations without bringing themselves under the UN’s new climate justice jurisdiction.

Climate funding and finance

“Climate finance” is the major sticking point in the negotiations. Developing nations I'm startiving pig pay green climate fund nowcontinue to threaten to walk unless the COP 21 outcome guarantees them a huge payout. The draft outcome includes a $100 billion dollar annual commitment to the UN “Green Climate Fund” by 2020 with plans to increase from there. President Obama and Secretary Kerry have so far been unable to find and deliver the $3 billion they pledged to the Fund which leaves other nations uneasy.

Developing nations see a massive redistribution of wealth to their nations not as “aid,” but as an “obligation” by wealthier nations to compensate them for the industrial revolution. This obligation will fall on the “Annex One” developed nations, but not on CO2 emitting giants such as China and India.

The draft outcome includes an option favored by U.S. negotiator Todd Stern for developing nations “in a position to do so” to voluntarily contribute climate funds. This is being strongly resisted by developing nations. The U.S. monthly trade deficit with China recently hit $37.8 billion. How long will U.S. taxpayers who owe China $1.2 trillion in government debt sit still for a climate regime in which they must pay out still more, but China, India and others get a pass?

The U.S. wants an amendment that would allow it to shake down private industry for UN climate funding if Congress refuses to allocate the funds. Developing nations want the funding to come from taxpayers exclusively.

The tragic flaws in climate science, coupled with a campaign of hype, attempt to suppress any facts that do not fit the warming narrative and will someday be the stuff of legend.

However, even if the inaccurate climate models Obama COP 21 phad proven 100% accurate, the COP 21 outcome remains deeply flawed. The U.S. negotiating position has always been to resist some of the demands that the U.S. and other prosperous nations take on the full burden and admit some kind of guilt for the prosperity they have brought to the world. One big issue to watch: To what extent will President Obama bow to pressure from other nations and abandon longtime U.S. negotiating positions? President Obama’s recent decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline indicates the value he places on rewarding the Green pressure groups that make up a significant part of his party’s coalition. President Obama and Secretary Kerry badly want to declare a foreign policy victory. In the end, President Obama may be willing to abandon U.S. interests and agree to a very bad deal in Paris, confident that the deal will receive no genuine scrutiny by the media.

If the Earth was truly in the predicament hard-line warming campaigners would like us to believe, an expanded UN bureaucracy under this flawed agreement would not be an effective way to resolve it.

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About the Author: Craig Rucker

Craig Rucker is the executive director and co-founder of CFACT.

  • Dec 7, 2015 What Is The Average Global Temperature?

    The average global temperature is…impossible to measure and harder to calculate than you might think. While GISS and RSS and UAH and GHCN might be a confusing jumble of letters to most people, there are people pushing for global taxes, global courts and individual carbon budgets based on these data sets. So let’s roll up our sleeves and take a look at the concept of “average global temperature.”

    https://youtu.be/eL-HyviLy6c

    • reagangs

      The problem with “guessing” and “interoperating” Artic ice cores, ocean bottom sediment and old tree rings is it’s not a perfect science. Why ???? Because we weren’t alive to know what the environmental conditions were like back then. It’s guess work and scientific theory. Nor REAL absolute science.

      • This quote says it all, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts” – Richard Feynman

      • Dano2

        Whoa. A comment on a blog just took down all the paleo disciplines!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111one

        Whoda thunk it was possible?!?!?!?

        Best,

        D

        • Brin Jenkins

          Err no, the misunderstanding of CO2 is damaging every Western Economy, this seems to not mastter to so called Liberals who are the most un liberal folk you can find.

          • Dano2

            When does your manuscript that overturns all of physics go to press? I’ll definitely say I knew him before he became the New Galileo.

            Best,

            D

            • Brin Jenkins

              Clown.

              • Dano2

                I don’t understand this comical deflection, either.

                How does either of your comments address the ability of science to measure temperature in the paleo records?

                Best,

                D

  • reagangs

    “French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, a Socialist” !?!? Remember the Fabian Society and its offshoots !?!? The gw/cc or whatever they are calling it now (social justice, economic justice ……), the eccoterrorist and environ-mental whackos are sooooo desperate and have begun to use old Sal Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals on anyone that opposes them. The progressives/socialist have been after the US of A for well over a century (1880s) and damn neat did in the 1950s, until JFK purged them from the fed. That’s why they murdered him. And, now, we are even closer than ever. I’m not ready for the USSA …. are you ???? Will there be another American Revolution against tyranny ????? Maybe. I know the local militias are ready with hundreds of millions of pissed off vets and everyday Patriotic, REAL, American citizens. Maybe our current active warriors will join us in supporting our Constitution. NOT the commie traitors in the WH and Congress and their minions and sheeple in the UN and EU. Man your battle stations and prepare. US Navy vet, 1966-1970.

  • Kim Bruce

    Do you have a list of the countries demanding their “jizya” payments?

  • truong ngoc thanh

    All I would like currently ,needed for fighting corruption ,that is my aspiiration and is will be keep to safe all mankind on this planet and get better ,for all never happened system of rule wrong law ,of the vicious in twist by corruption .
    Only this point is harmful to humanity ,for everybody ,civilians ,..
    Please terminate it by thè end of its lifespan .
    It is the exact cause of reproducing terrorism .and was followed by mass Arising out,worse more death has become many types of games corruption .and was comfortable repression on civilians .
    AS WITHOUT LAW
    Deeply respect
    Thanh

  • Let’s hope this expensive global warming/man made global warming swindle is grind to a halt, – for good. This swindle has been going on way, way too long.

    No support in the science, no support in the facts, no support in the empirical data and no support in the public (leftist media outlet and dishonest “green” organizations is not the whole public, we know that due to the level they scream).

    This is a wealth-destroying, unwanted deal that no one needs!

    • Dano2

      No support in the science, no support in the facts, no support in the empirical data and no support in the public

      Whoa. That’s a very high density of wrong::words. Well done.

      Best,

      D

  • “Cheating and corruption plague the climate business.

    Here are just five examples.

    First, we have seen countries and corporations caught cheating – eg China understating their emissions, VW overstating their engine performance, Spanish solar speculators selling “solar power” at night (from diesel generators), Indian entrepreneurs building “dirty” factories so they could then close them to earn carbon credits, Russia manipulating the rules to earn credits from the collapse of decrepit Soviet-era factories, anti-industry NGO’s posing as charities, and vested interests like wind, solar, oil and gas secretly bagging competitors like coal.

    Second, we see lazy, incompetent or biased reporters failing to mention that drought, floods, fires, storms, hurricanes and melting ice are not unusual and have happened many times in the past.

    Third, “scientists” ignore the rules of science by claiming effects or correlations as causes, ignoring inconvenient evidence, using dodgy data, tampering with temperature records to create fake “global warming” trends, and organising pal-review of dubious papers.

    Fourth, we have mendicant island states claiming imminent inundation from rising sea levels despite tide gauges and satellites showing that nothing unusual is happening.

    Finally, we see politicians with hidden agendas exaggerating warming dangers while ignoring warming benefits, pushing propaganda as education, and lying about the “pollution” supposedly caused by the gas-of-life, carbon dioxide.”

    http://blog.heartland.org/2015/12/climate-corruption/

    • Dano2

      Fossil fuel PR firm! Drink!

      Best,

      D

  • Ross McLeod

    The IPCC used Trenberth et al “radiation Budget” in the AR4 WG1 Chapter 1- FAQ section.

    In this radiation budget there are several undeniable assertions made.

    1. That the atmospheric back radiation with a value of 324 W/sqm. has greater heating power than the solar radiation at 198 W/sqm.

    Point 1 is simply absurd – the solar radiation can split electrons off the crystalline silicon in solar panels generating electricity, it can start fires, boil water to superheated steam in solar thermal power stations.

    The atmospheric back radiation is obviously incapable of any of these effects.

    Point 1 is a lie – plain and simple !

    2. That almost 83% of the Earth’s radiation to space is from the atmosphere.

    We are always told that 99+% of the atmosphere is NOT infra-red radiation active. This deceptive statement asserts that only “Greenhouse gases” radiate infra-red radiation – an assertion at odds with the rest of physics which asserts everything emits electromagnetic radiation in proportion to its temperature. At ambient temperatures this is definitely in the infra-red range.

    Ignoring this impasse consider how exactly the 99+% of the atmosphere which is not infra-red active sheds energy and changes in temperature as ultimately the only exit for energy from Earth is by radiation to space.

    To claim that the energy of 99% of the atmosphere must be transferred to GHGs before they can cool is absurd and to claim CO2 plays any significant part in this is even more ludicrous. CO2 is heavier than air and most of it will be found near the ground surface.

    If this absurd construct is true then non infra-red active Nitrogen and Oxygen – ~99% of the atmosphere – are the real “heat trapping gases” because they cannot ultimately lose energy to space.

    And to claim that is truly absurd.

    Besides how does 99% of the atmosphere warm and cool daily – certainly the heating isn’t anything to do with radiation at all – they don’t absorb it.

    Trenberth et al show the surface back radiation as 2 times all other surface energy loss.

    Again how does 99% of the atmosphere heat up ? You can’t deny that it does !

    The truth is the whole construct behind the CO2 global warming/climate change unproven hypothesis is nonsense.

    All of the simple physics describing the “greenhouse effect” I’ve seen is ridiculous.

    Besides, if heat trapping by gases is possible then please explain how thermal imaging can work through solid materials ?

    After all solid materials should trap the infra-red radiation and thermal imaging through solid materials should not work.

    As we know it does as the Boston police caught the fugitive Boston marathon bomber by spotting his thermal image as he hid below a tarpaulin on a boat.

    Heat trapping gases do not exist so the unproven hypothesis is simply wrong.