Why Nothing Will Be Achieved In Paris
By Paul Homewood
The private jets will soon be flying in from all over the world for the Paris conference due to start tomorrow, bringing with them thousands of politicians, officials and green activists.
But what is it all likely to achieve?
Here are my personal thoughts.
1) No binding agreements will be made.
Developing nations have already made it absolutely clear that they will not agree to any legally binding agreements, although they expect the west to do so.
As they have banded themselves into one grouping, led by China and India, there is no way individual states will be picked off one by one with either bribes or force. It is also clear that China, in particular, will not agree to any external monitoring.
The EU has already indicated that its own binding targets will be reviewed unless a globally binding agreement is reached.
Obama, keen to seal his “legacy”, would love to commit the US, but knows he would never get such a treaty through Congress. Meanwhile, others in what is called the Umbrella Group, including countries like Russia and Japan, are ambivalent about the whole process and are certainly not willing to wreck their economies.
2) No renegotiation of INDC’s
There will be no renegotiation of individual INDC’s. This is not even on the agenda.
3) No action on finance
It was agreed at Copenhagen that a climate fund of $100bn would be set up by 2020, along with commitment to $100bn a year thereafter.
Virtually nothing has been put into the fund as yet, and it is unlikely that more than a few billion will be promised at Paris. Even the small amount of $3bn promised by Obama is unlikely pass Congress.
Developed countries, including the US, are adamant that the large amounts promised in 2009 cannot all come from the public purse, and that much will have to come from private funding.
Look for progress towards the target to be reviewed at meetings next year, the year after, and the year after that.
4) Lots more meetings
This one will run and run.
There will be very little of substance agreed in Paris. China, India and the rest of the developing world will be free to carry on increasing emissions, while Obama and other western leaders will delude themselves that their sacrifices have made a difference.
There will be some form of wording agreed that allows all parties to go away and claim that some progress has been made. And there will be more meetings next year and after to “build on this progress”.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace will moan that we have all missed a glorious opportunity.
And so, next year, we will start all over again.