More climate sausage

I shrink the Paris Climate Agreement to readability.

Follow-up to my post on the Paris climate agreement.

To help you out – and to check for myself whether I hadn’t got the whole thing wrong – I’ve had a go at redrafting the Vice-Chairs’ non-draft in their non-paper, shrinking all options to one. It’s now comprehensible and of reasonable length (11 pages). Link to downloadable version.

The selection was entirely personal and has 0 promises of votes. I just took whichever option that seemed strongest, clearest or shortest. So what you have is in the top decile of the large universe of possible texts that could emerge from the drafts on the table. The outcome will almost certainly be worse than the King James Version: fuzzier, weaker, and more confused. But it probably won’t be that much worse.

For the most part, I resisted the professional bureaucrat’s temptation to improve. In three cases, explained in the intro, I thought it was essential. My changes (not selections) are marked in red.

Given a free hand, I could clean it up and cut it down a lot more. Dream on.

With any known make of pen, snarled Mitty, I could have redrafted the treaty at 1000 miles to six pages with my left hand.

Postscript 30 July

In hopes of stimulating some reaction, here are my drafts of Articles 2 and 3, to compare with the extracts of the real working document I cited in the previous post:

The objective of this agreement is to further enhance the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention in order to achieve the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner. To these ends, all Parties will strive to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions and maintain and increase resilience to the adverse effects of climate change.

All Parties, in accordance with Article 4 of the Convention and their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities shall make individual efforts and cooperate with a view to achieving long-term emission reductions and stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, consistent with holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. Developed country Parties shall take the lead by undertaking ambitious emission reductions and Parties included in annex [Y] shall provide finance, technology and capacity-building support to developing country Parties.

I move the 1.5 degree cap to Article 7, “Ambition”, as an aspiration subject to review.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

4 thoughts on “More climate sausage”

  1. Keep.. hope… alive! (Jesse Jackson's slogan in his pres run in …. [googles it] '88, apparently. It sounds pretty good when you get a bunch of people yelling it.)

    Just a thought – someone should check to make sure that people in LDCs know that fixing this isn't expensive, which I believe because you've said it here and I trust you … but I don't see any popular awareness of same in local LA or US press. Guess it hasn't sunk in?

    It is a great sign that Obama wants a big ceremony. I think the Figueres dynamic — essentially oneupmanship, if I understand correctly? – has great promise. Maybe you can get Bono to sing, and the Pope to give a dinner party.

    1. The Pope is into Franciscan frugality. Let the French do the dinner, or the Thais. The problem with Bono will be how to stop him. The Obamas or Brazil can do better.

      It's not me saying that the fixing is cheap but the IPCC WG3, Summary for Policymakers, pages 15-16. They omit the very large health benefits, since ambient air pollution, mainly from combustion of fossil fuels, is estimated to cause 3.5 million premature deaths and cost $3.5 trn a year (UNEP). These are GDP costs, not requiring any fancy moving of the statistical goalposts. Mark Jacobson for one sensibly incorporates health benefits in his detailed scenarios for the energy transition, outweighing the small net energy savings per head by a factor of six.

      1. Well I think the penny has not dropped yet, or anywhere close. Witness today's LAT ed page just this morning: "Certainly, in the short term at least, slowing climate change by reducing carbon emissions won't be cheap and it won't be easy."

        It's really not helpful when i suspect that there are many others like me who find CC so terrifying it is a mental strain to think about it.

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