Mystery Over Last Minute Change To Paris Agreement
By Paul Homewood
There was one interesting development yesterday, as governments came together to approve the final draft of the Paris Agreement, as the Telegraph reported:
An who objected?
The difference between “shall” and “should” is huge, as “shall” would make it legally binding.
Why then did the US object? It is not quite as surprising as it first appears.
This clause goes to the heart of the agreement, as it would oblige developed countries to reduce emissions. Obama knew that any such legally binding treaty would not get through Congress. The word “should” effectively makes emission cuts a voluntary exercise, which needs no treaty approval.
All of this leaves one question. It seems inconceivable that US negotiators would not have spotted the significance of the original wording, and in such an important clause.
On the other hand, the EU and UN have been enthusiastic to make emission cuts legally binding. Was there skulduggery at the last minute, with the word “shall” being slipped back in, with the hope that it would not be noticed?
Here are the two versions: