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What Really Happened at the Paris Climate Conference - and What Next
Impakter just published one of my articles about the United Nations - this one about the results of the Paris Climate Conference:
PARIS CLIMATE CONFERENCE AGREEMENT – WHAT NEXT?
After the Copenhagen fiasco in 2009 when no agreement was reached, the subject of climate change looked dead and buried. Yet, this time in Paris, something positive happened at COP21. That’s the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP), i.e. the countries that have signed onto the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) back in Rio, at the 1992 Earth Summit. It took twenty-three years to get from there – in Rio – to here in Paris.
So, was COP21 a success or yet another failure? Actually, it was both
On Saturday, December 12th, at 7:30 pm, after 11 days of negotiations between 195 countries, including a 24 hour delay and a last minute panic caused by a typo in the text that suggested that one sentence in the agreement was binding when it was intended to be voluntary, an agreement was reached, met by a standing ovation. Called the “Paris Agreement” by the French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius and President of COP21, it was agreed to by “consensus” as is the habit at the United Nations, even though one country, Nicaragua, insisted that its perplexities be put on record.
In the photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attend High Level Closing of the Summit of Local Leaders hosted by Ms. Ann Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, and Mr. Michael Bloomberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Cities and Climate Change – Photo Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
If you listen to French President Hollande or the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, it was a huge success, a “historic” agreement, the start of a new era. President Obama concurred, seeing the accord largely as a personal victory, the result of his agreement last year with President Xi Jinping of China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and of the new regulations he issued this year to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. “We’ve transformed the United States into the global leader in fighting climate change,” he told the New York Times.
Yet, the deal falls far short of what is needed to slow global warming and reverse the environmental damage already done.