The world-control seeking climate alarmists hoped to leap forward at this year’s UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland. As usual they inched instead. None of the big stuff happened.
They did manage to write a 133 page rulebook for the Paris Accord, which is all they were required to do. It is actually a big to-do list for future actions, which is why it is called the Paris Agreement Work Program or PAWP (sounds like pulp with a Southern accent). These so-called actions are mostly reports and periodic reviews, so there is very little of substance.
There were two big ticket action items that, while not officially on the agenda, were still center stage. In fact they were all the green press talked about.
The first and foremost topic was finance. This makes sense because the whole idea of the Paris Agreement is that America and the other developed countries are going to give the developed countries at least $100 billion a year to fight climate change.
That money is supposed to start flowing in 2020 but the developing countries are getting nervous. (They should be because it is never going to happen.) So in Katowice they wanted binding commitments and detailed explanations of where the money was coming from. They also wanted assurances that it was not coming from existing foreign aid flows, or in UN-speak that it is truly “new money.”
They basically got nothing but stonewalled. The developed countries said we cannot bind future governments. Thus included the U.S., which is still at the Paris Agreement table despite widespread reports to the contrary. (We do not pull out until after the next Presidential election, if then.)
The second big topic was something called in UN-speak “increased ambition.” Under the 2015 Paris Accord every country makes what are called Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs. These are each country’s plans for fighting climate change.
In true Soviet style, the NDCs are 5 year plans. This means that they are due to be revised in 2020 and the greens want more, as always. In this case they wanted the developed countries to “increase ambition” in Katowice, by announcing dramatically more draconian controls beginning in 2020.
Nothing of the sort happened. Some countries, like Germany, announced tougher controls in the distant future, especially in 2030 and 2050, which are meaningless. The fact is that almost no developed country is on track to even meet its 2015 NDC. At the same time, most of the developing country NDCs are contingent on the finance coming through, so they are not rocking the gravy boat.
In addition, the Paris anti-climate-tax rebellion was in full swing, which really put a damper on developed country ambition, much of which is predicated on new taxes. One might even say that the Paris riots were the high point of the Katowice meeting. (They sure were for me.)
Also fun was the U.S. negotiating team finally doing something Trump-like, even if it was largely a token gesture. They firmly rejected official UN recognition of the recent and ridiculously over the top IPCC report which says that another half degree of warming is all the world can stand.
This rejection was a delightful case of UN-speak. Rather than “welcoming” the report, which implies acceptance of its findings, it was merely “noted” for the record. In a grand compromise the summit did “welcome its completion” (but not its absurd claims), so at least the word “welcome” got in.
This little word game took hours of hot debate and generated a lot of resentment among the developing countries. They of course hoped to leverage the dire findings of the IPCC report into increased ambition (and bigger bucks) from the developed world. No such luck.
As I wrote in an article earlier, the truly nonsensical concept of “loss and damage” did make considerable headway. This is UN-speak for compensation of the developing countries, by the developed ones like America, for all the adverse effects supposedly due to climate change. But that too is very much a future thing and all that will happen then is reporting bogus claims of loss and damage.
So all things considered, nothing immediately important happened. Both big moves involved immediate major commitments by America and the other developed countries and no one budged. This is good news for the world as we enter 2019, which may be even more fun.
The UN climate train may be slowly grinding to a halt. Let’s hope so.