12/5/2015 Please note update below – hro
Well, it’s that time again, folks! Yet another annual Convention of the Party-goers – aka the grandiosely named United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) … This time in what was once justifiably known as The City of Light, aka Paris, France.
For the record, I recall that in my (now long, long ago and faraway) younger days, following a whirlwind visit of the memorable and most delightful kind, I had no hesitation referring to it as such. Nowadays? Well, particularly in light of recent events, and those perhaps not quite so recent … not so much.
But that trip to Paris was back in the days before the recently deceased Maurice Strong decided (circa 1972) to pollute the stated goals and aspirations of the United Nations via introduction of his invented bailiwick – the never officially UN mandated (to this day) but ever-expanding, and unaccountable, bureaucracy known as the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
UPDATE: On the Strong front, once again, I find myself in “violent agreement” with the assessment of the U.K.’s Christopher Booker. In an article in today’s (December 5) U.K. The Telegraph, Booker observes:
To this day, global climate policy is still shaped by the agenda of Maurice Strong, a Canadian multimillionaire
A very odd thing happened last weekend. The death was announced of the man who, in the past 40 years, has arguably been more influential on global politics than any other single individual. Yet the world scarcely noticed.
Had it not been for this man, we would not last week have seen 150 heads of government joining 40,000 delegates in Paris for that mammoth climate conference: the 21st such get-together since, in 1992, he masterminded the Rio “Earth Summit”, the largest political gathering in history. Yet few people even know his name. […]
The thought does occur to me that perhaps this “Program” is designated as such in UN parlance because – unlike the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – the UNEP’s partner in parenthood of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a mere creation of the UN General Assembly, a body which has always lacked the authority and prestige of the UN Security Council.
Oh, well … so much for “history”. Let’s focus on the latest and greatest news from Paris. Those who are new to the scene might find it helpful to review the IISD’s (yet another body inspired and initiated by Strong) summary of what they have dubbed “Day 0” of the current proceedings. For the record, here’s their intro:
The Paris Climate Change Conference will convene from 29 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris, France. The Conference will comprise the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11). The 43rd sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 43) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 43) will also meet.
The 12th part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-12) convened its opening plenary in the evening on 29 November 2015. This opening plenary is summarized after the brief history of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol and the intersessional highlights. The ADP convened a day early in order to establish spin-off groups so that technical negotiations could commence. ADP 2-12 will continue working under the agenda (ADP/2013/AGENDA) adopted at ADP 2-1, structured around workstream 1 (the 2015 agreement) and workstream 2 (pre-2020 ambition). The ADP is expected to work towards the expected conclusion of the ADP’s mandate “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties” for adoption by COP 21.
Those who are relatively new to the scene of these annual confabs may find it helpful to review the IISD’s summary. But the part of their narratives that I’ve always found to be the most informative is that which the IISD calls “In the Corridors” – and that for “Day 0” I reproduce here in its entirety (with my bold added):
On Sunday, Day 0 of COP 21, the venue was sparsely attended until the evening, when over 1,300 delegates, ministers and observers assembled in a packed plenary room at Le Bourget for a brief opening of the ADP, enabling negotiations to start in spin-off groups on Monday evening.
With incoming COP 21/CMP 11 President Laurent Fabius expressing hope that the Leaders Event on Monday would provide “political impetus” for the negotiations, many delegates spoke of their expectations for the first days of this “decisive meeting.” While some hoped the leaders’ presence would “grease the wheels,” another wondered how 150 brief statements could ever provide a common sense of direction. One veteran observed that the “real currency” of the gathering would be the opportunity it offers for informal discussions at the highest political level.
The real action on Sunday took place outside the venue, with an estimated 10,000 people forming a human chain leading to 22,000 shoes, representing those who would have demonstrated in support of an ambitious climate agreement had the terrorist attacks on Paris not happened. The array of shoes was said to include shoes from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Pope Francis. One observer hoped that the world leaders arriving in Paris on Monday would be inspired to start walking in those shoes.
22,000 shoes?! So impressive, isn’t it?! YMMV, but all I could think of when I read the above was Nancy Sinatra’s (circa 1966):
Considering the extent to which the UN’s reach has exceeded its actual mandated grasp in the intervening years – since Strong’s early days – I find these lyrics quite descriptive of the actions of his aids, abettors and successors! On a somewhat more serious note, however, I would recommend the perspective of Douglas Murray, via Gatestone. Murray concludes by noting:
So here we are, at the end of what should be one of the world’s sharpest and most painful learning curves in recent history. At the end of this curve, we ought finally to be living with the realization we might have acquired earlier: that since we cannot live with ISIS and other ISIS-like groups, we had better live without them. We had therefore better do whatever it takes to speed up an end of our choosing before they speed up an end of their choosing.
Clearly – and very sadly – this important lesson seems to have escaped the powers-that-be at the always-grasping, ever-expanding and self-glorifying UN. It has become an organization which long ago began to resemble barely a shadow of its actual mandated self.
P.S. To those who have enquired about my lack of postings – and, in some instances, failure to respond to comments – in the past month or so, my thanks for your concerns. I have been (and still remain) far too pre-occupied with finding my way out of an unanticipated but, alas, ever-increasing financial pickle. Perhaps if I’d jumped on the “right” climate bandwagon, six years ago when I began this blog … But, in the immortal words of Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference
So, dear reader, if you happen to know of any benefactor(s) who might appreciate my explorations, factual findings and writings here and elsewhere in the blogosphere – and who might like to aid an aging damsel (and her demanding but lovable cat) in distress – perhaps you would be kind enough to point them in my direction. So that I can repay my debts and give myself some breathing space, while I return to a less debilitating state and embark upon a productive path to recovery. Thank you.