35 days to save the planet? Of climate and the Bonn bomb

In case you hadn’t noticed, there has been yet another gathering of the great and the good which began on October 19 and ended on October 23:

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bonn Climate Change Conference took place in Bonn, Germany, from 19-23 October 2015. The meeting brought together over 2,400 participants, representing governments, observer organizations and the media, for the eleventh part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-11).

[…] the last in a series of meetings under the UNFCCC in preparation for the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21), scheduled to take place in December 2015, in Paris, France, aimed to advance negotiations to meet the mandate to adopt “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all parties,” which is to come into force in 2020. [my bold -hro]

The short version of the IISD’s 9,640-word summary: They came, they juggled and they missed – by the proverbial country mile (or two or three!) If you have absolutely nothing better to do, you might want to take a scroll through the IISD’s dutiful report on these proceedings (such as they were).

If your knowledge of the history of these deliberations is somewhat hazy, the first four pages offer a succinct – albeit somewhat slanted – account of the sessions that preceded these particular discussions.

Should you choose to conduct a more “in depth” reading of the most recent proceedings, you might even find yourself as amused as I was when I encountered descriptions, depictions and/or phrases such as: “non-paper” (21 instances found**)

** Unfortunately, my somewhat cursory search for a definition of “non-paper” within the confines of the UN did not appear to yield any results. But what I did stumble across is perhaps a more useful yardstick for determining the extent to which the many arms, elbows, hands, fingers etc. of the UN actually conform to that which they loftily called a Compendium of basic terminology in governance and public administration, and published in 2006. [backup of pdf here]

It appears to have been compiled by an unnamed “Committee of Experts on Public Administration” under the aegis of the UN”s very own ECOSOC. But I digress … Back to the Bonn bomb …

A little over three years ago, I took a look at some word-counts in the Rio+20 multi-page “outcome” document, where the final “score” was climate change 22, sustainable 400.

So, in the conspicuous absence of any “meat” deriving from this latest gathering of the great and the good at the Bonn bomb, I thought it might be worth undertaking a similar word-count exercise. Here’s what I found (excluding the 21 instances of “non-paper”):

Amazing, eh?!

Amazing, eh?!

A modest reversal of fortune, perhaps? Or a not particularly promising last chance for “climate change” to take centre-stage, so to speak?!

Even the IISD, in its conclusions, is far from what I would call “optimistic” about the anticipated outcome in Paris. They conclude their summary by noting (inter alia and my bold-hro):

This session was supposed to intensify the pace of text-based negotiations so that the agreement will be ready for the Paris Climate Change Conference in five-weeks’ time. By the end of the week, however, it was clear that parties had not managed to intensify the pace. If anything, they had slowed it down.

Dissatisfied with the ADP Co-Chairs’ text, parties engaged in a text re-compilation exercise, followed by a painstaking process of streamlining and clustering. Many of the compromises reached at the June and August-September sessions of the ADP disappeared, as parties returned to positions expressed in Geneva in February 2015.
some parties felt that rather than focusing on earlier found convergences and bridging proposals emerging from ADP 2-10, the draft agreement in the non-paper left a large number of crucial substantive decisions to be made after Paris, or simply “forgotten.”

As a result, ADP 2-11 began in an atmosphere of trepidation. Many were anxious to see how the ADP Co-Chairs’ non-paper would be received, given that some parties had already characterized it as a “non-starter.” In spite of its brevity, some had hoped that this text would provide a framework for focused negotiations. Instead, as one observer noted, the Co-Chairs’ text caused parties to lose faith that their issues would even be considered


Almost no time at ADP 2-11 was spent addressing the decision text necessary to flesh out the hoped-for concise agreement. The Paris package is meant to constitute of both agreement and decision text. Some had hoped for a virtuous cycle in which the details on the “how” would be captured in decision text, thus allowing the agreement only to focus on the “what,” with parties able to make compromises within the agreement text, once assurances on how issues were being dealt with in the decision text were elaborated. Instead, at ADP 2-11 a vicious cycle continued to inhibit progress, as parties were loath to remove anything from the agreement without knowing what would be in the decision text, but also found it difficult to work on decisions without knowing what would be in the agreement.[…]

Pity, eh?!

Perhaps all the 2,400+ participants would have done better to stay home – and allocate the funds expended via the Bonn bomb to the UN’s appeal for more funds to address the needs of the real refugees they’ve been virtually ignoring for at least the last four years.


11 thoughts on “35 days to save the planet? Of climate and the Bonn bomb

  1. “under the aegis of the UN”s very own ECOSOC”

    I love ECOSOC, it reminds me of Orwell’s INGSOC, I think what we have now is UNSOC.

    “It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc (sustainable development?) —should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.”

    I note that South Korea seems to be providing people for the top jobs in Ban’s UN, starting with the man himself: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=52360#.Vi5RpivYf3U

    “23 October 2015 – As the United Nations prepares for the official celebration of its 70 anniversary tomorrow, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the General Assembly to “unite our strength” and serve “we the peoples,” as the 193-member body adopted by consensus a resolution declaring a recommitment to the aims and principles of the UN Charter.”

    ECOSOC: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/president/index.shtml,

    “His Excellency Oh Joon was elected seventy-first President of the Economic and Social Council on 24 July 2015. Ambassador Oh is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York.”

    IPCC: http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/ipcc-elects-hoesung-lee-as-new-chair/

    Hoesung Lee, Lee, aged 69, is professor in the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development at Korea University’s Graduate School of Energy and Environment in the Republic of Korea. He is currently one of the IPCC’s three vice-chairs.

    We knew they wouldn’t give up:
    “The election of the new Bureau, which will have 34 members including the Chair, opens the way for work to start on the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, expected to be completed in 5 -7 years.”

    Donna’s story about him is much more interesting, http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2015/10/19/the-preposterous-green-institute-and-the-ipcc/

    World Bank:
    World Bank President: http://www.worldbank.org/en/about/president/about-the-office/bio

    “Jim Yong Kim, M.D., Ph.D., became the 12th President of the World Bank Group on July 1, 2012. A physician and anthropologist, Dr. Kim has dedicated himself to international development for more than two decades, helping to improve the lives of under-served populations worldwide.”

    https://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/imfwb.htm: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are institutions in the United Nations system.


    “One of the latest salvos aimed at convincing the peoples and national governments of the world to empower the UN with vast new tax and regulatory powers is an op-ed co-authored by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde for Project Syndicate (founded and funded by George Soros). Entitled “The Path to Carbon Pricing,” the op-ed is the latest rendition of the “carbon budget” scheme that the WB-IMF elites have been promoting for a number of years as a means to provide the UN and their Wall Street bankster allies with, literally, trillions of dollars in carbon taxes, carbon trading permits, and “green” investments.”

    • Thanks, Dennis.

      With each speech he gives, I, for one, become less impressed with the “talents” of Ban Ki-moon! And it seems to me that they’ve been “commemorating” this 70th anniversary of the birth of the UN for several months now, have they not?!

      Too bad that – during the course of these “celebrations” – no one seems to have given any consideration to the actual original mandate and purpose of the UN. Not to mention the ever-increasing multiplicity of ways in which its grasp has far exceeded its intended (and mandated) reach.

      I completely agree with your “assessment” of ECOSOC; perhaps more research is warranted. But it seems to me that this may well be the ever-widening “door” via which so many un-mandated (and perhaps even undreamed of 70 years ago?!) bodies, banks and other boondoggles have burrowed their way into increasingly costly – and privileged – existence!

      Not the least of which – as you mention, Donna had noted (and as I’m fairly certain I had mentioned somewhere along the way here) – has provided the latest highly privileged (and, one is inclined to suspect, handsomely paid) home for former UNFCCC head honcho, Yvo de Boer after a relatively short stint at KPMG.

      It will be interesting to see whether or not other formerly dormant (or non-existent) organizations follow the “model” now established de Boer’s little bank in Korea.

      One organization that might bear watching is the relatively new kid – with a 10 year plan and multiple arms – known as FutureEarth, which I’ve written about from time to time in the past few years. FutureEarth has certainly “blossomed” in the interim.

      Interestingly, it is quite well-connected on many UN fronts. See: http://www.futureearth.org/history; and – as a bonus, so to speak – it seems that some of its very own have already risen within the upper ranks of the IPCC (of all places!) See: http://www.futureearth.org/news/new-ipcc-bureau-and-task-force-bureau-elected where one finds:

      Members of the Future Earth Science Committee, Engagement Committee and Core Project communities elected.

      Amazing, eh?!

    • “UNSOC”: What an insight into just how bad the climate mania truly is
      And our so- called ” progressive” leaders are happily immersed in it.

    • “UNSOC” and “ECOSOC”: What an insight into just how bad the climate mania truly is
      And our so- called ” progressive” leaders are happily immersed in it.

    • What makes you think it’s O/T, Robin?! As far as I can tell, Alex’s excellent article derived from the BBC’s gleanings (albeit perhaps prior to the actual conclusion!) of the same gathering of the great and the good noted in my post above.

      But many thanks for this Tinkerbell alert – cuz (if I hadn’t read Alex’s post), I would never have known that she was even aware of this particular gathering!

      Come to think of it, to be honest, considering her claims, I’m not entirely sure that Tinkerbell actually was aware of this gathering! She gets no mention whatsoever in the IISD’s summary. And yet, Hurricaine Patricia – as noted in my post – gets three mentions, notwithstanding the grand total of 0 deaths pursuant to HurPat.

      Anyway, I have a comment in moderation over at cliscep – in which I expand on my thoughts pursuant to Alex’s post! So thanks, again ;-)

  2. As Tinkerbell is one of your many specialist subjects, I think you should also see this: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2015/10/28/carbon-c-reddit-un-climate-chief-takes-on-internet/

    Two extracts that interested me:

    (1) “The greatest barrier to success will be in the details – how the interests of all countries will be reflected in the final text and decisions.” Well yes Christiana, it’s sad but details do tend to be a bit of a problem – that’s where the devil is you see.

    (2) The Paris agreement “will harness all the national climate change plans which as a group, if fully implemented, already substantially reduce the BAU growth in emissions.” Just a few, ahem, “details” there to worry about – e.g. “if fully implemented” (many targets depend on massive funding from the “rich” countries – unlikely to be forthcoming). And how about “reduce BAU growth”? As I understand it, a reduction in Business As Usual growth means that emissions continue to grow but rather more slowly. Hmm … that doesn’t sound much like the “binding climate agreement, by which every country commits to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases” that, only a few months ago, Kofi Annan (echoing many others) said had to be achieved at Paris: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/03/kofi-annan-interview-climate-change-paris-summit-sceptics.

    • Well, perhaps we have more than 35 days to save the planet, after all, eh?!

      It’s interesting (but not surprising) to see that – in essence – Tinkerbell is having to walk back, not only from her very own many pronouncements past, but also from Kofi Annan’s (far more polished**) performance last May. Not sure that there’s any hope for Annan (who, IMHO, who has long passed the “tipping point” of being far too tainted for anyone’s good), but Tinkerbell might benefit from some “how to perform on reddit” lessons!

      ** Compared to his Jan. 2014 rabble-rousing alarmism in full-bore. Maybe The Elders have a somewhat less fiery speechwriter on board?!

      As for the “detail front” … considering her (somewhat muted, at least for Tinkerbell) performance at the Press Conference on Oct. 23 [h/t Alex via his comment at cliscep.com], I still can’t help wondering if she and the quasi-official IISD rapporteurs were at the same meeting!

      For the record, here’s the video of the Oct. 23 Press Conference. Watch her (and Laurence Tubiana) spin for the media:

      Not exactly happy campers … well, at least, that’s the view from here;-)

  3. I hadn’t really looked at Future Earth, but now you point out, it is another rich vein, when you start to go through the various structures, eg the “Engagement Committee” http://www.futureearth.org/engagement-committee, has White House involvement, with Amy Luers, Assistant Director, Climate Resilience and Information at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). It has WWF representation in the person of the International President Yolande Kakabadse, former environment minister of Ecuador. The Transition team in your “history” link has many familiar names.

    The “Interim Engagement Committee” to set up Future Earth, was headed by Al Gore acolyte and IPCC chair before Pachauri, (1997-2002), Robert Watson, https://www.uea.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/people/profile/robert-watson

    He has always been in the vanguard of scary stories, strongly promoting the hockey stick when IPCC chairman. Watson was “Associate Director for Environment in the Office of Science and Technology Policy” in the Executive Office of the President in the Clinton/Gore White House. Prior to the White House, he was Director of the Science Division and Chief Scientist for the “Office of Mission to Planet Earth” at NASA.

    He was at the World Bank, as so many of the AGW movers and shakers have been, as “Chief Scientist”. When he left in July 2007, Al Gore wrote to him and called Watson his “hero of the planet,” commended him on his incredible career and contributions, and congratulated him on his new jobs. His “new jobs” were Director of Strategy at the Tyndall Centre and and Chief Scientific Adviser to UK Defra.

    The “Science” committee is top-loaded with Sociology and Psychology professors, http://www.futureearth.org/science-committee, but includes Corinne Le Quere, Professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of East Anglia and Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change. The Tyndall Centre was the brain child of Mike Hulme in 2000, but he left in 2006 and has since tried to walk away from some of the madness which comes out of it, via people like Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows-Larkin.

    The Future Earth Executive Director is Paul Srivastava but I can find no connection between him and the long-serving Leena Srivastava, deputy to Pachauri at Teri.

    “Bringing together and in partnership with existing programmes on global environmental change*, Future Earth is an international hub to coordinate new, interdisciplinary approaches to research on three themes: Dynamic Planet, Global Sustainable Development and Transformations towards Sustainability.”

    The “existing programmes” are DIVERSITAS, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).

    These are part of the Global Carbon Project, now subsumed into Future Earth, http://www.futureearth.org/projects/gcp-global-carbon-project

    You can read about these groups here: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/changing_global_economy_engine.html. Some of the people will likely have changed since it was written.

    The grouping called itself the Earth System Science Partnership which was featured by Susan Solomon, AR4 WG1 co-chair, in this ESSP presentation, footnoted as an initiative of Diversitas, IGBP, IHDP, and WCRP, http://unfccc.int/files/methods_and_science/research_and_systematic_observation/application/pdf/essp_part_1.pdf. Her AR4 co-chair, Dahe Qin, is on the Future Earth Science Committee.

    Solomon boasted that almost half of the contributors to AR4 were scientists associated with these four groups. Her own summary shows that WCRP alone provided:
    91% of Co-ordinating Lead Authors
    66% of Lead Authors
    68% of reviewers
    39% of contributing authors.

    WCRP is an offshoot of the WMO, which is of course a co-sponsor of the IPCC.

    Group think indeed.

  4. It is interesting that “Global Warming” was never mentioned. Policies are meant to reduce global GHG emissions, which in turn will reduce the magnitude of projected climate catastrophes. Also look for “two degrees” or number variations. There might be mention of warming, or global average temperature rise.

    Whilst there might be a lot of words in coded language, there are very few actual figures. Surprising when you consider that most countries have made INDC submissions saying how they will contribute to constraining emissions to stop average global warming above three degrees. The UNIPCC claims that added together these proposals will constrain warming to 2.7C, compared with about 4.5C under the IPCC’s RCP8.5 BAU (non-policy) scenario. It would be nice to the marginal contribution each country is making to at global picture. ClimateInteractive claims that the INDCs will just reduce the rise to 3.5C.
    From their graph, 2100 emissions will be reduced from 140 GtCO2e BAU to about 80 for 3.5C warming, and 10 for 2C.
    Yet Bjorn Lomborg claims the policy impact will be just 0.048C
    The interesting question I have been grappling with is how to reconcile the huge difference Lomborg’s small change from policy and the huge change elsewhere.
    I believe that the forecasts are wrong, or at least Climate Interactive’s version. Looking at fossil fuel emissions (75% of total GHG emissions) per capita my preliminary conclusions are.
    – In the OECD countries emissions are forecast to start increasing when then plateaued 30-40 years ago. If the OECD countries all said it would maintain emissions at 2010 levels (i.e. do nothing) global 2100 emissions would be cut by 15 GtCO2e.
    – In Russia and China emissions will plateau in the next 10 to 20 years. China says it will do this (i.e. it will do nothing to affect emissions trends) by 2030. In a corrected forecast 2100 emissions would be about 3 and 17 GtCO2e lower.
    – For India the current high levels of economic growth (6-8%) will crash, to around 4% this year and less than 2% by 2030. Emissions growth will similarly fail. India will never reach the emissions levels of OECD countries. A more realistic forecast would add 10-12 GtCO2e to 2100 emissions. India’s lack of policy is made into one of insignificant relevance.
    – Africa will have huge population growth, but current low levels of economic growth (maybe 3% pa) are forecast to fall. Assuming that Africa in 2100 will have just a quarter of the emissions per capita of the USA in 2010 would add 17 15 GtCO2e. A lack of policy in most of Africa is downplayed, yet according to the population forecasts, in 2100 Africans will comprise 39% of the global population, compared with 15% in 2010.
    The net impact in the global forecast is small, but the impact on policy reductions is huge. So rather than the press releases, the UNFCCC should be getting auditors to check their figures.

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 )

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