A major coalition of African organizations is circulating a petition at the Bonn climate control conference, calling for the US delegation to be removed from the Paris Climate Pact talks. There is no way that this will happen but it illustrates what is being called the “Trump effect.” The US pullout is upsetting the UN process. This is great news indeed.

Spearheading the petition drive is the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). According to their website, they are the largest Civil Society platform in climate change and sustainable development, with a membership of more than 1000 organizations and networks.

Civil Society is UN-speak for nongovernmental organizations and such. Thousands of these groups are typically admitted as observing participants in the COP proceedings. They have no vote but they are in the room, as it were.

The text of the petition has not been made public as far as I can tell, but Mithika Mwenda, secretary general of PACJA, says the point is “not to give Trump the platform to rock the boat from within.” His reason is that “Trump’s agenda is to dismantle the Paris Agreement.” Another PACJA source argues that “Trump is going to create a lot of climate change deniers.” That would be very nice indeed.

There is probably no way that the US can get thrown out. To begin with, the only group with votes is the COP MOP (I am not making this up). This group is formally known as the Conference of the Parties (COP) serving as the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Paris Agreement. The Parties in this case are the governments of those countries that have signed the Agreement, including the US.

Even the humorless Greens realize that COP MOP is a silly acronym, so this group is called simply the CMA. In keeping with UN goofiness, the almost two week long Bonn meeting is technically just the second part of the first session of the COP MOP, hence it is CMA 1.2 (which sounds like a software version).

For the COP MOP to try to expel the US delegation would be unbelievably disruptive. These are supposed to be delicate diplomatic affairs. There is no provision in the Paris Agreement for this kind of terminal action, or in the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is a duly ratified US Treaty. The only grounds I can think of would be if there were a coup or something in America and the delegation no longer represented the actual US government.

So it remains to be seen what noise this petition can make, for noise is all it is. On the other hand, and as we saw in the Presidential race, attacking Trump keeps him in the spotlight, which is just where he wants to be.

It may turn out that the Trump effect is the biggest story coming out of Bonn COP 23. After all the US President has said the Agreement is a scam, and this is a Presidential Agreement, but the US is still sitting right there at the negotiating able. This is a truly rare event in UNville. It may never have happened before, certainly not at this scale, with trillions of dollars on the table. What a hoot!

We may well see anti-American marches and demonstrations in the streets of Bonn. This will certainly happen if President Trump decides to attend at the end, when the world class heavyweight pushing and shoving hits the negotiating table. But that is a week or so away. For now what is most interesting is to see if there is any visible Trump effect in the daily negotiations themselves. Stay tuned to CFACT to find out.

Fun facts:

The U.S. pays 22% of the UN budget and 20% of the UN climate process.

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