Hiding the decline (of the IPCC/UNFCCC)?

[Please note UPDATE at the end of this post -hro]

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the body under whose auspices each late November – early December a COP (Conference of the Parties) and CMP (“Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol”) are convened.

With little – if any – regard for the expense (or <<gasp>> increase in carbon footprint) incurred, a virtual army of politicians, bureaucrats and dedicated green NGOs descends on a corner of the world to party and (at least pretend) to “debate”, so that an 11th hour “agreement” can be miraculously secured to ensure that they get to meet again the following year.

Perhaps the best known of these COPs/CMPs is COP15/CMP5, during which many unrealistically high hopes were disastrously dashed. This was the Copenhagen gathering of December 2009. Subsequent COPs/CMPs (Cancun – 2010, Durban – 2011 and Doha – 2012) resulted in very little, although if you were to look for speeches from UNFCCC head honcho, Christiana Figueres, I guarantee you will be able to find her (evidently divorced from reality) positive spin on the outcomes and “progress” achieved.

Warsaw is the designated port of call for the next gathering (COP19/CMP9) to be held November 11-22:


Impressive, isn’t it?

But, you know, a funny thing seems to have happened on the way to Warsaw. If you scroll down the page on which the above image can be found, you will see that in the Key Steps section something seems to have been, well, air-brushed out of history:


Whatever could have happened to wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen?! Oh, well c’est la vie en rose (coloured glasses?!)

In 2011 – when “recovery” from the Copenhagen disaster did not seem imminent – the UN-ocrats at the Climate Change secratariat, in preparation for the December 6 opening of the Doha party gathering, seem to have “partnered” with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to launch a new “public platform”: the Momentum for Change “initiative”.

The Executive Summary of this glossy “Launch Report” tells us that (inter alia):

The plenary, with a capacity of 1400 audience members, was open to all registered members of the conference, including country delegates, NGO, IGO and youth group observers, as well as special invited guests and representatives of the private sector.

A large group of media and interested audience members gathered to witness the launch and hear the introductory speeches of special guests, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, President of COP 17/CMP 7 and Ms. Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

A total of 28 representatives of 10 projects from around the world, discussed their projects with the event moderator, Lord Nicholas Stern, and shared their lessons and experiences with the audience.

The event was a great success with audience members and project participants alike, providing positive feedback on the experience, inspirations and lessons learnt from the launch. [emphasis added -hro]

With the endorsement of such a panoply of prominent persons, what could possibly go wrong?! Well, it would appear that this “initiative” (with its very own three pillars and video) has not gathered much, well, momentum! But, Gaia bless ’em, the ever-resilient secretariat is bouncing back after hitting the virtual reset button on Momentum for Change.

As Donna Laframboise tells us in a post today, the Climate Change secretariat has now “partnered” with a PR firm to:

develop a strategic communications plan and to “fine tune” its “overall messaging.” This, we’re told, will “inspire decision makers to support immediate and ambitious climate change action.”

Interestingly, the September 10 Press Release announcing this new, improved “public-private partnership”, which will “help shine a light on climate change action around the world”, includes the following:

Under the terms of the agreement, Brodeur Partners will provide pro-bono communications support to the United Nations Climate Change secretariat until December2013. The secretariat and Brodeur Partners will work together to develop a strategic plan that guides Momentum for Change’s communications activities. Brodeur will rigorously analyze the Momentum initiative and its social media efforts, as well as work with key secretariat staff to fine tune Momentum’s overall messaging. The secretariat plans to leverage its enhanced communications capacity to inspire decision makers to support immediate and ambitious climate action. [emphasis added -hro]

Certainly looks as though there will be a highly concerted effort to resuscitate Momentum for Change. I wonder if this strategic plan will add to the existing “three pillars” – and even result in a new video! There’s no “starting date” indicated, so one might reasonably presume that it begins immediately (if it hasn’t already done so!) – just in time, perhaps, to attempt to rescue the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from the considerably less than optimal conditions under which, later this month, it will be entering the “negotiations” on the line-by-line “approval” of the wording of Working Group I’s Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

In theory, if not always in practice, the UNFCCC depends on the IPCC reports for the “scientific” authority to beef up its own deliberations. So, if the IPCC is unable to pull a rabbit out of its rapidly crumbling hat at the end of this month, my guess would be that Brodeur Partners will be busy helping the secretariat to spin whatever the outcome might be into a more palatable prelude to the late November Warsaw concerto!

The extension of this “agreement” into December, suggests that Brodeur Partners may also be developing (and assisting in the implementation of) a strategic “Plan B” – that of hiding the continuing decline of the pre-Copehagen powerful influence of the IPCC and the UNFCCC.

I could be wrong (it has been known to happen!) But for now, that’s the view from here;-)

UPDATE: 09/13/2013 While the UNFCCC has put out a Press Release painting a rosy picture of the deliberations of its ‘how are we going to get $100 billion’ “climate finance” meeting in Korea, the GWPF has an excerpt from a more realistic article by Graham Lloyd in the (paywalled) Australian which includes:


As it seeks to rebuild momentum, the IPCC is keenly aware it has a credibility problem because of mistakes and politicking in the past. How it handles the completion and release of the fifth assessment report will be crucial.
There is a degree of nervousness internationally that the central climate change message is being lost as efforts are being made to build a global agreement. To help with “messaging”, the Ted Turner-created UN Foundation has engaged the Australian public relations arm of an international advertising agency to help manage difficult media ahead of the release of the IPCC report.

The concern is the Abbott government’s change of heart on a carbon tax will encourage other countries to delay or weaken their commitment.

Green politics are playing badly in Britain and much of Europe. And despite US President Barack Obama’s recent climate awakening, tracking by Colorado University’s Centre for Science and Technology Policy Research shows there has been a collapse in climate change coverage by the mainstream media since the failed Copenhagen conference in 2009. Climate change coverage in the US last month, the research showed, hit its lowest point in almost a decade.

As it seeks to rebuild momentum, the IPCC is keenly aware it has a credibility problem because of mistakes and politicking in the past. How it handles the completion and release of the fifth assessment report will be crucial. [emphasis added -hro]

13 thoughts on “Hiding the decline (of the IPCC/UNFCCC)?

  1. WUWT – today’s Newsbytes links
    The Gore effect will add a dimension to,and a distraction from, November’s gathering: assessment of initial fracking tests may have the host country celebrating, Snow-clogged streets,filled with citizens eager to add another layer of protection from both Central European winters and their erstwhile masters to the East.
    Hilary, thanks for the post. However, I need help – too much time wasted searching UNFCCC sites for details about ‘elections’ and financing. Can you point in the right direction? :

    • From your link, John, some interesting notes to add to the “prelude” to this UNFCCC planned performance of the Warsaw concerto:

      “We want to have renewable energy sources, but hard coal and lignite — and soon shale gas — will remain our principal energy sources. That’s where the future of the energy sector lies,” [Poland’s PM Donald] Tusk told reporters.

      As for your questions … not exactly sure what details you’re looking for re elections and financing (did you mean “climate finance” – if so pls. see link to Press Release in my update above). The menu items on the page from which I had grabbed the images in my post may be a good starting point …


      … but no guarantees. This is the UN, after all … and one thing at which they do seem to excel is moving stuff around and making it difficult to find ;-)

    • COP agenda / conference schedule web page includes elections: who is voting to fill which offices/functions? I hoped, also, to find a budget, with actual numbers: no luck.

      Thanks, again for your diligence.

  2. Like many crumbling ascendancies, they blame poor communications (which actually means the stupidity of the punters) for their failures.

    Good luck with that strategy.

  3. Thank you Mme Ostrov, for that insightful appraisal of the current situation regarding the COP meetings. These things seem to have a slowly decaying momentum that mimics life long after the heart has stopped beating. Calling in the voodoo doctors of PR and spin won’t make it beat even one more time no matter how much money poor old Bill throws at them.

  4. PR firms and their clients are certain that more artfully crafted persuasion will bring about the public actions and decisions they desire. It sometimes works, which is why they are so persistent (Operant Conditioning: occasional randomly spaced rewards produce responses which are the most resistant to extinguishing) .

    Reality bites hard, however, and can’t be persuaded to target and chew what you want it to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s