End Of The Line For Paris Climate Talks
By Paul Homewood
If the Paris talks fail to come up with anything meaningful, which appears likely, we can thank the New York Times for the above cartoon!
Unsurprisingly, the Indians themselves are furious, as the India Times reports:
The New York Times has sparked off a controversy. In a recently published cartoon, the daily has mocked the stand India took at the Paris Climate Conference.
The cartoon depicts India as an elephant which is on a railway track, blocking a train named ‘Paris Climate Summit’.
During the summit India had positioned itself as the champion of developing nations, posing a challenge to policies of the developed countries much to the displeasure of the western block.
This is not the first time that New York Times have triggered controversy over its depiction of India. Last October the newspaper had generated massive outrage in India after a cartoon mocked India’s successful Mars Orbiter Mission. It showed an Indian man towing a cow knocking on the doors of ‘Elite Space Club’.
Following the outrage New York Times had issued an apology and clarified that the cartoon "was in no way trying to impugn India, its government or its citizens”.
Incidentally, the Mars Mission cartoon and the Paris Climate Summit were both drawn by the same cartoonist, Heng Kim Song.
The assumption that India should forego the right to improve the lot of its people goes to the heart of everything that is immoral about the green agenda.
As for the current state of play, the Hindustan Times tells us all we really need to know:
India’s crucial role at the climate change talks in Paris has once again been underlined by a high-level outreach by the United States, including a call to Prime Minister Modi from President Barack Obama who hopes to cement his legacy with an ambitious global agreement on curbing global warming.
Obama reached out to Modi on Tuesday in an attempt to break the deadlock at the climate summit, where the responsibility of developing countries such as India in tackling rising global temperatures has been a sticking point.
He spoke to Modi hours before US Secretary for State John Kerry and environment minister Prakash Javadekar held a 45-minute meeting in Paris.
Sources said the meeting between Kerry and Javadekar failed to reach a compromise on a number of issues, including redefining the differentiation between the rich and the developing world in “changed circumstances” and a proposed review and verification of climate action plans.
Obama’s move was apparently aimed at breaking the ice and resolving contentious issues before the first draft of the ministerial consultations was released on Wednesday. Sources said an agreement in Paris will not be possible without India and the US converging on a range of issues.
A lot is at stake for both countries as the Paris climate agreement on limiting carbon emissions and financing cleaner energy will have a far reaching impact on their economies.
Obama, who faces opposition to his clean energy plan in the Republican-controlled US Congress – both chambers – and multiple states, wants to leave the White House next year with a “climate legacy” that protects American interests. This could mean India losing out on cheaper cleaner technologies, having to pay in future to the global climate fund and contending with an intrusive review mechanism for climate action plans.
“Both leaders underscored their strong commitment to address issues related to climate change being discussed in the Paris conference through constructive engagement, without impeding the progress of developing countries,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said on the conversation between Modi and Obama.
The White House, in a statement, said both leaders emphasised their “personal commitment to secure a strong climate change agreement” and their interest in the two countries “working together to achieve a successful outcome”.
The conversations between India and the US are important for forging a deal in Paris that is acceptable to all while maintaining a balance between the interests of the two countries. India and the US have taken divergent stands on key issues.
“There was very little agreement on most issues,” a negotiator from a developing country said.
Among the sticky issues are embedding differentiation between the rich and developing countries in all elements of the Paris agreement, including mitigation, climate finance, review, adaptation and capacity building, the mechanism for reviewing and verifying each country’s climate action plans, the long-term temperature goal of 1.5 or 2 degrees by 2100 and compensation for damage because of disasters induced by climate change.
The fear is that the talks in Paris may be unable to deliver an ambitious agreement by Friday, the last day of the conference, and there could be a minimalistic agreement that may be described as a failure. The first draft released on Wednesday clearly showed the differences between the 196 nations participating in the conference were still huge.
The ministerial facilitators appointed by the conference president, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, reported very little forward movement on climate finance, differentiation and the long-term goal of arresting temperature rise by the turn of the century.
Vivian Balakrishnan of Singapore told the conference on Tuesday that the countries are “yet to place their final positions” on differentiation, indicating the issue was the biggest sticking point of the talks.
India and its partners in BASIC (China, Brazil and South Africa) has clearly identified differentiation in all “elements to be the heart” of the Paris agreement.
“Bitter wind blowing and loss of trust between countries as ambition was missing from Paris agreement,” the WWF said in a statement.
Put simply, the West is expecting China, India and other developing economies to now be treated as developed countries, and consequently be obliged to commit to binding emissions targets, as well as contributing to the UN’s $100bn green fund, rather than be recipients of it.
It is not conceivable that they will agree to that.
As I predicted before the outset, no legally binding global agreements will be made concerning emissions, and the debate will revolve around finance, where it appears that very little progress has been made.
All of this is in stark contrast to the BBC’s rosy view that “negotiators at the Paris talks aim to wrap up a global agreement to curb climate change on Saturday – a day later than expected”. It is apparent that their intention is to fool the public into believing that any piece of paper that comes out of Paris will prove that the talks have been a complete success.
But what can we realistically expect?
1) There will be some sort of formal reporting mechanism for GHG emissions. This will in all honesty add very little, as we already have the BP and CDIAC versions.
It still seems extremely unlikely that the Chinese will agree to independent inspection and verification, as they would see it as impugning their national integrity.
2) Vague promises will be made to put more money into the UN Green Fund, but even Obama has made it clear that only a small proportion can come from the public purse.
3) There will be more meetings in future years, mainly to castigate the West and beg for more money.
In the meantime, emissions will steadily grow, unless the global economy crashes, as even John Kerry is forced to admit:
The fact is that even if every American citizen biked to work, carpooled to school, used only solar panels to power their homes, if we each planted a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what – that still wouldn’t be enough to offset the carbon pollution coming from the rest of the world.
If all the industrial nations went down to zero emissions –- remember what I just said, all the industrial emissions went down to zero emissions -– it wouldn’t be enough, not when more than 65% of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world.
The INDC’s only take us through to 2030, and large reductions in GHG will be needed thereafter according to the UNFCCC. Yet it is unlikely that any discussions will start on this until at least 2020.
But doubtlessly, Comrade Harrabin and the rest of usual suspects will declare Paris a stunning success, so as to persuade us to carry on ruining our economies. At least until next year’s jamboree, when Prince Charles, Leonardo di Caprio and co will be wheeled out again to warn us that we only have months to save the planet!