French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Thursday night, “a hard night” at COP 21, the UN climate summit in Paris. Fabius, a Socialist, announced that the talks would hold over for another day and he hoped they would conclude on Saturday.

He continues to exude optimism. “Following the consultations I will have,” Fabius said, “ I will be in a position tomorrow morning at 9 am to present to all parties a text, which, I am sure, will be approved.”

CFACT is there!

COP 21 is headed into extra innings as CFACT predicted. (We didn’t really need our 20/20 crystal ball to predict that one).

The most important divisions appear to be between China, India and the United States. Saudi Arabia is waging a sporadic guerrilla campaign on the text, apparently succeeding in banning the word “renewable” from the document with the exception of a single mention in the preamble of deploying renewables as a means of enhancing electricity in Africa.

China and India leadersChina and India are standing pat in their positions and waiting for President Obama to fold. E.U. Nations are watching from the sidelines and wringing their hands. The elites of developing nations and carbon profiteers are salivating over the prospects of fat stacks of redistributed cash. They are urging the strongest language they can get to ensure the dollars and euros keep flowing.

Obama and Secretary of State Kerry want to claim this climate pact as part of their legacy. Their main goal is now to attain an agreement with nonbinding emissions reduction commitments that the President can attempt to join through executive agreement while avoiding Senate ratification.

China and India’s main goal is to avoid meaningful emissions and climate funding commitments.

China and India are not listed among the Annex one developed nations within the UN climate regime. They are hiding behind the UN’s principle of “differentiated responsibilities” permitting them to avoid hard commitments and defer any peaking or reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions until fuzzy dates in the future. China now accounts for 24% of global emissions and India 6.4 %. Together they exceed the combined emissions of the U.S., 15.5%, and the E.U.’s 10.8%.

China and India are willing to construct wind and solar “Potemkin villages” as cover while they continue to expand their generation of electricity via coal as quickly as their economies will allow. Only involuntary recessions can slow them down.

“Countries have entrenched behind their red lines instead of advancing on compromise,” said Matthieu Orphelin, spokesman for the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, reported by Radio Canada.

The UN released its latest draft conference outcome (read it at Thursday evening. It shows the UN climate treaty/agreement evolving in two main directions. The U.S. team appears likely to succeed in its goal of achieving the non-binding emissions targets the President wants, however, it is doing so at the expense of attempts to get China, India and other successfully developing nations to share the burden.

It is a good thing the world is not warming as climate models project. If the models were accurate (so far not), they would reveal that this agreement will have no meaningful impact on global temperature.

Temperature target

The latest text backs down from threats to increase the goal to holding temperature increases below 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. It now reads, “Hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C, recognizing that this would significantly reduce risks and impacts of climate change.”

They appear to be going with a less damaging aspirational goal of 1.5 °C rather than a concrete goal that would cause great pain in any who attempt to meet it.

Climate finance (Climate shakedown?)

The latest draft keeps developed country parties on the hook to provide $100 billion by 2020, scaled up from there. Contributions by developing country parties, even emissions giants such as China and India, remain strictly voluntary.

Language favored by the U.S. calls for “climate finance, from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds” remains in the draft. With the U.S. Congress unwilling to allocate funds for the UN climate regime, this could allow the President to raise billions from “creative” sources or shake down private business.

Loss and damage

Loss and damage means funds and assistance for developing nations that experience weather-related losses, that are not covered by the text’s adaptation or mitigation provisions. U.S. chief climate negotiator Todd Stern insists that any agreement on loss and damage will not result in an obligation by developed nations to pay compensation. However, the draft outcome calls for future development of a loss and damage “mechanism” building on ideas emanating from COP 19 in Warsaw. We can only expect the climate bureaucracy that will result from any COP 21 agreement to bloat and expand. That is what bureaucracies do. See, e.g. the European Union. Loss and damage is included in the draft COP 21 outcome at the behest of nations seeking direct financial compensation. It is the thin end of the wedge.

Binding treaty or nonbinding agreement

Negotiators at COP 21 badly want America included in a new UN climate regime. They know that getting America on board during President Obama’s remaining time in office is the best chance they will have. Non-binding emissions targets, giving the President a fig leaf to hide behind while attempting to avoid submitting the agreement to the Senate for ratification, are likely to prevail.

Differentiated responsibilities

The big remaining sticking point appears to be attempts by developed countries to get developing countries to meaningfully limit their emissions and contribute to climate finance. Economic giants such as China and India want to continue to expand their emissions and keep their money while the developed nations throttle down their economies and pay out. Despite a round of telephone diplomacy between the White House, Chinese President Xi and Indian Prime Minister Modi, China and India appear prepared to stand pat. They expect Obama’s eagerness to claim a climate agreement as part of his legacy will lead him to fold on issues of substantive U.S. interest. That seems a strong bet.

It is a good thing world temperature is not increasing as climate models foretold. If the threat of global warming was as dire as those spreading alarm would have us believe (it isn’t), we’d be cooked.


  • Craig Rucker

    Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.