Final draft of climate deal readied in Paris

After weeks of wrangling, the thousands of officials attending the Paris Climate Conference look to approve a final draft of an agreement that would phase out the use of fossil fuels over the next few decades and transfer trillions of dollars from rich to poor nations to help the latter pay for the effects of global warming.

Or enrich the personal bank accounts of third world kleptocrats - take your pick.

This is not a treaty. It is a statement of intent from every country on the planet to meet ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions. 


From the outset, critics have said the emerging deal had serious weaknesses, most prominently the fact that envisaged emissions cuts will not be enough to keep warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times, the level scientists say is needed to avert the worst effects of warming including severe droughts and rising sea levels.

Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the last major climate deal agreed in 1997, the Paris pact will also not be a legally binding treaty, something that would almost certainly fail to pass the U.S. Congress. Instead, it will be largely up to each nation to pursue greener growth in its own way, making good on detailed pledges submitted ahead of the two-week summit.

And in the United States, many Republicans will see the pact as a dangerous endeavor that threatens to trade economic prosperity for an uncertain if greener future.

Still, by charting a common course, officials hope executives and investors will be more willing to spend trillions of dollars to replace coal-fired power with solar panels and windmills.

"It will be up to business, consumers, citizens and particularly investors to finish the job," said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

A deal in Paris would mark a legacy-defining achievement for U.S. President Barack Obama, who has warned not to "condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair".

Leaders of vulnerable low-lying countries - who brought together more than 100 nations in a "high ambition coalition" at the talks, striving for the strongest possible language - have portrayed the Paris talks as the last chance to avoid the catastrophic consequences of rising temperatures.

Without joining together for immediate action, they had warned, greenhouse gas emissions would be certain to push the planet's ecosystem beyond the 2C tipping point. They appeared to have carried the day, as Fabius said the text would seek to keep the rise to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and if possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

There is not one iota of empirical, experimental data that connects reducing greenhouse gases with falling temperatures. The entire climate change proposition is supported by scientific models - useful, if used correctly, but madness when you base public policy on their predictions. Models essentially tell us what we don't know about a given scientific phenomenon, and what we don't know about how CO2 in the upper atmosphere affects temperature on earth could fill a library the size of the Library of Congress.

So in essence, we are expected to rip trillions of dollars out of the US economy over the next few decades and ask the American taxpayer to give billions a year to a climate change fund, based on nothing more than predictive models that so far, have failed miserably to accurately predict anything.

There are no mandates in this deal; no penalties for not achieving the goals each country sets out. It is a meaningless exercise in narcissistic self-congratlations. The leaders of the world will go back to their citizens, point to one aspect of the agreement or another, and pat themselves on the back for saving the planet.

All hail, Obama! Bringer of peace and the lightworker who rolled back the rise of the oceans.



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