Ron Bailey’s Paris Conference Round-Up

 
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Bailey, via Reason.

Reason Science Editor Ron Bailey (author of The End of Doom) was at the Paris COP21 talks on climate change and has published a series of posts on conference, which I’ve rounded-up and summarized here:

  • First Dispatch: Discusses the positions of various parties going into the talks;
  • Second Dispatch: Regarding the unusual optimistic mood of activists, and some possible business and investment opportunities;
  • Third Dispatch: Speculation that the agreement might avoid the hostile zero-sum atmosphere of Kyoto and Copenhagen (since, at this conference, each country got to pick its own emissions reduction target);
  • Fourth Dispatch: Report on the conference’s first draft;
  • Fifth Dispatch: Report on the conference’s final draft;
  • Sixth Dispatch: A skeptical look at pledged “cuts” (China, India, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, for example, have merely pledged to slow the rate of increase in their emissions);
  • Seventh Dispatch: Regarding poor countries’ demands for climate finance; and
  • Eighth Dispatch: Conclusion of the conference, with some of the key points of the accord and initial reactions.

So what’s in the agreement? The key points appear to be:

  • Limiting the increase in average global temperature by two degrees celsius (and making an effort to hold the line at 1.5° C);
  • Trying to reach peak emissions of green house gases as soon as possible, and then get down to net zero sometime between 2050 – 2100;
  • Forest conservation and reforestation;
  • Transferring finances to the developing world to assist with mitigation and adaptation (the figure of $100 billion annually is apparently not in the text of the agreement itself);
  • A recognition of climate-change-caused loss or damage without an assumption of liability (at least not for now); and
  • A plan to meet again in 2018 and every five years thereafter to update emissions goals (intended nationally determined contributions, or INDCs) and track progress.

If I understand correctly (I haven’t read the primary document, so I’m relying on Ron Bailey’s reports), the agreement doesn’t have much in the way of enforcement mechanisms and largely uses vague and aspirational language.

Here is the penultimate paragraph from Bailey’s last dispatch:

Notwithstanding the unwitting evocation Soviet Five Year Plans, Jacobs from the New Climate Economy and many others seemed particularly pleased with the new global five year review cycles. “Five year cycles mean that policies will be synchronized,” Jacobs enthused. “Policy is now all going to be going in the same direction. That sends a very strong signal to the market.” [link added]

Thoughts?

There are 13 comments.

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  1. Tenacious D Inactive
    Tenacious D
    @TenaciousD

    I searched in the Paris Accord document and didn’t find the terms ‘concentration’ or ‘ppm’. The target is strictly temperature based. So assuming different values for climate sensitivity leads to different concentrations of atmospheric CO2 that could be acceptable under the agreement.

    • #1
  2. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Overall, I wish the global climate change community would follow Bjorn Lomberg’s advice and focus on mitigating, adapting, and compensating for any potential AGW rather than attempting to destroy our economies trying to prevent it happening.

    Is your South Pacific or Indian ocean reef island going under the sea because of ocean level rises? Let’s buy you out.

    • #2
  3. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    It has been regularly reported how the results of these talks do not constitute a treaty specifically due to the fact that it would be impossible for the administration to get such through Congress. Given this it would seem there is little reason for Americans to concern themselves regarding the results. However is that the case?

    Kevin Williams over at NRO makes the argument that passage of the TPP will commit the nation to whatever target goals the Paris negotiations produced. However he does not elaborate on why he believes this to be the case and I have not seen this argument put forward elsewhere. So my question to Ricochet, are others of the opinion that this is a justified concern?

    • #3
  4. raycon and lindacon Inactive
    raycon and lindacon
    @rayconandlindacon

    Bottom line;  For the above assembly we are left with a lot of hot air, and the tab for a very expensive dinner, with even more overpriced wine.

    At least somebody benefits from the crisis… of course it is always the same gang.

    • #4
  5. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    The “agreement” is a nothingburger.

    • #5
  6. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    We all know how effective centralization around five year plans can be.  Making it global can only be an improvement.   But, imagine how ineffective Soviet Five year plans would have been without the KGB and Siberian enforcement mechanisms.  The population would have just ignored the five year plans and folks would have  done their own thing, sort of like the chaos in market economies.

    • #6
  7. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    Ron Bailey needs to start over.  I haven’t paid attention to him since he started to push Cap’n Trade because he got mad at John Christy.  And Liberation Biology is morally bankrupt; too bad, he was, at one time, a decent science writer, just like Christopher Buckley as an OK satirist before he started behaving like a “satyrist” and then endorsed Obama, and Ken Adelman as a decent arms control guy before he lost his mind.

    • #7
  8. barbara lydick Inactive
    barbara lydick
    @barbaralydick

    • Forest conservation and reforestation;

    Does this imply a continuation of no controlled small burns in order to clear areas for healthy tree growth in national forests? Along with other best-practices maintenance? Who will be in charge of this? (If the forests were privately owned and that maintenance practiced, reforestation and many fewer massive forest fires would be a given.)
    • Transferring finances to the developing world to assist with mitigation and adaptation (the figure of $100 billion annually is apparently not in the text of the agreement itself);

    A thinly-veiled attempt to more evenly distribute the world’s money? I’d have to say, in all seriousness, the cleverness of this group’s ability to amass large sums of money in the name of climate change is truly staggering. (And when in the history of the earth’s existence did climate not change?)
    • A recognition of climate-change-caused loss or damage without an assumption of liability (at least not for now)

    Like that recognition, then assumption, of liability is ever going to happen…

    • #8
  9. barbara lydick Inactive
    barbara lydick
    @barbaralydick

    Z in MT: Overall, I wish the global climate change community would follow Bjorn Lomberg’s advice and focus on mitigating, adapting, and compensating for any potential AGW rather than attempting to destroy our economies trying to prevent it happening.

    I’ve always been struck by Mr. Lomberg’s assessment of the cost of Kyoto, had it been implemented. He calculated that what it would have cost the US alone for just one year would have been sufficient to provide clean water and sanitation for every human on the face of the earth. I wonder how the present treaty’s numbers would translate in this regard?

    But then, priorities don’t seem to be part of the climate-changers thinking.

    • #9
  10. Matt Upton Lincoln
    Matt Upton
    @MattUpton

    It dawned on me the diabolic brilliance of this:

    1. Global temperatures have plateaued.
    2. Conference declares halt at 2 degrees C.
    3. Temperatures likely hold below 2 degrees C anyways.
    4. Conference participants break own arms patting themselves on back.

    All the countries promise to throw their virgins in the volcano, unless they really don’t want to. Poorer countries will be given extra virgins to sacrifice. In the end, everyone is happy the volcano didn’t erupt (except the families of the virgins). No one can prove that virgin sacrifice wasn’t the reason the volcano laid dormant.

    • #10
  11. Tenacious D Inactive
    Tenacious D
    @TenaciousD

    barbara lydick: Does this imply a continuation of no controlled small burns in order to clear areas for healthy tree growth in national forests? Along with other best-practices maintenance? Who will be in charge of this? (If the forests were privately owned and that maintenance practiced, reforestation and many fewer massive forest fires would be a given.)

    Some fear it may involve wide-scale violations of property rights in the third world. Per Bailey:

    The idea of using afforestation to absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is controversial. At the conference, representatives of indigenous peoples have strenuously opposed such schemes. They are very concerned that poor country governments would run roughshod over their land tenure rights in order carbon-sink plant forests for which rich country governments would pay as way to achieve carbon neutrality with regard to their emissions. Friends of the Earth International’s Food Sovereignty program coordinator, Martin Drago argued that promoting carbon neutrality could displace people and raise the price of land.

    • #11
  12. Tenacious D Inactive
    Tenacious D
    @TenaciousD

    Matt Upton: 2. Conference declares halt at 2 degrees C.

    And, since temperature is the only parameter that’s officially part of the agreement (see my comment at #1) any natural variability is implicitly included. Also, the issue of whose temperature record will be authoritative is not addressed (unless there’s some technical appendix I’m not seeing).

    • #12
  13. Tenacious D Inactive
    Tenacious D
    @TenaciousD

    This clause (7.5, p.24) was discussed in one of the comment threads on Bailey’s dispatches at Reason:

    Parties acknowledge that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions, where appropriate.

    So the document gives a nod to a lot of equality goals that don’t really have anything to do with the climate. And the preamble to the Annex (p.20) literally uses the phrase Mother Earth.

    • #13

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