President Macron’s Climate Sums

President Macron’s reaction to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on Climate was to invent a nice slogan (Make the Planet Great Again) and call an international conference for this Tuesday.

You can read the programme (in English) for this one day event at

Here’s how they define the purpose of the conference:

.. two years to the day after the historic Paris Agreement, it is time for concrete action.

Do you know what the overview effect is? During spaceflight, astronauts have a unique vision of the Earth: a tiny sphere in the middle of the universe. 

A unique and fragile ecosystem in which each and every one of us lives and breathes.

Our challenge today is to fulfil our common destiny.

Are we able to unite to take tangible action together?

This should only be a rhetorical question since we do not have a plan B as there is no planet B.

On 12 December 2017, two years to the day after the historic Paris Agreement was concluded, we will provide new tangible responses to this question.

President Macron will be there,as well as President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, and U.N. Secretary-General, António Guterres.

There will be four discussion panels, each one presided by a French cabinet minister. All the world’s top leaders will be present: namely, the President of Fiji, the Prime Minister of Dominica, and Environment Ministers from Canada, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Ethiopia, and Quebec.

Also, key representatives of local government, who have promised to take up the baton dropped by the U.S., namely: the Governor of California and the Mayors of Paris, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Quito, and Bangangté.

The rest of the panel members are representatives of the EU, UN, OECD, etc. together with CEOs of fossil fuel companies, hedge funds, and other interested parties. And Lord the Professor Sir Nicholas Stern.

Their responsibility is immense, since, as they state in the programme for Panel One: “Scaling up Finance for Climate Action”:

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, the investments needed are in the range of trillions of dollars.

Which is quite true, since the Paris Agreement specifically fixes a sum of a hundred billion per year to be paid by the rich (Annex One) countries, like Turkey and Greece, to the poor non-Annex One countries, like South Korea and Saudi Arabia. That’s a trillion per decade.

Except that the French version of the text says:

les investissements nécessaires sont de l’ordre de milliards de milliards de dollars.

A milliard is a billion, so we’re talking thousands of trillions of dollars. French Wikipaedia explains:

En mathématique, dans les pays utilisant l’échelle longue, un trillion représente 1 milliard de milliards (109x109) soit 10 puissance 18 ou, en notation scientifique à 1018, c’est-à-dire 1 000 000 000 000 000 000, encore un million de millions de millions (106x106x106). Un trillion est alors égal à un million à la puissance trois, d’où le terme.

So the origin of this text must be English-speaking world where we use the “short”’ trillion. Someone presumably read some English test (The Paris Agreement?) which spoke in short trillions and translated the unfamiliar term for French speakers, producing a figure which is just a thousand times greater than the absurdly delusional figures promised in Paris. Let’s hope the President of Fiji and the mayor of Bangangté don’t notice, or it might give them ideas.

Mr Macron is an ex-minister of the economy and ex-director of Rothschilds Bank. His ambition to become the leader of the European Union and hence of the free world hinges on his ability to reduce the country’s budget deficit from a horrific 3.3% to a reasonable, (and Merkel-compatible) 2.9%, which depends on his ability to shave a few billion euros off government spending. Let’s hope his pocket calculator is made in the U.S.A.


  1. “Are we able to unite to take tangible action together?”

    Surely Russia, China, India and the USA have already indicated “No”, so it seems like a waste of jet fuel.


  2. The ongoing international bureaucratic bonanza. Don’t let anyone be fooled by some token leaders of poorer countries. The citizens of each would, almost to a man, and certainly to a woman, vote for the cheapest possible energy, given the chance. But the democratic deficit by the time one gets to this level is absolute.

    … the Paris Agreement specifically fixes a sum of a hundred billion per year to be paid by the rich (Annex One) countries, like Turkey and Greece, to the poor non-Annex One countries, like South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

    The weirdities exist at every level. Thanks for keeping a straight face in communicating some of them to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As I read the last part, echoing in my ears was Carl Sagan with his “hundred billion galaxies, each with billions and billions of stars”. I suppose it was an American universe and not a French one.


  4. China will be helping Zimbabwe, with technology to burn more coal to power and develop its economy, and probably neighbouring ones aswell. This is tangible action. It is what these developing countries need.

    If Macron can arrange bulk buy discounts with German luxury car manufacturers, for leaders of developing nations, EU Grant money can provide tangible targets for the poor and needy to aim at.


  5. “One thing is abundantly clear from sifting through this article and other similar flights of green fantasy; everyone in the climate community expected the USA to foot the bill.

    Despite a few friendly overtures, China has not yet stepped in to fill the breach left by the departure of all that US cash.

    Until the climate community finds someone willing to pay for their endless expenses paid global conferences, and money pit climate projects, hollow promises are all hopeful green NGOs are likely to receive.”

    How wll Green NGOs and Clmate Scientists survive without USBillion$?


  6. When planning on long term funding, climate hustlers implicitly depend on PT Barnum’s proverb that “a sucker is born every minute.


  7. The chaps meeting for another jamboree do not have any form of perspective. I will help them out a bit.
    There are about 7500 million people on this planet in 195 UN recognized countries. At least 6000 million live in countries that have no intention of reducing their GHG emissions in the near future. This countries also accounted for 100% of global emissions growth since 1990.
    For COP23 in Bonn, UNEP produced a report showing the scale of the emissions reductions required. Figure E5.2 is the key figure.

    Do the sums chaps. The 1.5C target emissions range for 2030 can only be made by getting some giant vacuum cleaners to suck the CO2 out the atmosphere, then to dig a giant hole and bury it.

    Two-thirds of GHG emissions are from fossil fuels. It is reckoned by the IPCC AR5 that only 1000 GtCO2e of emissions from 2012 onwards (about 750 GtCO2e from the new year) to breach the 2C warming limit. McGlade and Ekins 2015 (The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2°C) estimate that burning the proven global reserves of oil, gas and coal would produce about 2900 GtCO2e. They further estimate that the “non-reserve resources” of fossil fuels represent a further 8000 GtCO2e of emissions. I have helpfully done the politically incorrect thing of showing where the major reserves are located.

    I can almost guarantee that the subject of countries pledging to leave at least 75% of their proven reserves of fossil fuels in the ground will not even be raised. So whilst the UK, with about 1.2% of global emissions leads the world in reducing its emissions, China, India, 50+ African nations, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc, will go on pursuing economic development aided by cheap fossil fuels willingly supplied by Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Iraq, Kuwait, United States etc. I am sure that the end of the meeting folks will congratulate themselves on having signed a bit of paper prepared beforehand, and go home having had a great time.


  8. Many thanks for the information of how to address my better – Lord the Professor Sir Nicholas Stern. Before this knowledge I would have spoiled the party by using something coarser.


  9. The BBC today is reporting that Macron says Trump is going to reverse his decision to pull out of the Paris agreement.

    Really? Does he know something the rest of the world doesn’t? Or is he just making it up?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If pledges were wishes
    The EU would subscribe
    With dreams and desires Trump would ride ‘long side
    And Macron’s worries and troubles would fall off behind
    If wishes were pledges

    Apologies to Bryan Adams


  11. Our French associate Benoît Rittaud was interviewed this evening on a 90 minute climate special on a major TV news channel. You can see him roughly 36 minutes in at
    just after a quite fair report on the starving polar bear video. He’s challenged by the WWF’s Isabelle Authissier, who is a famous round the world lone yachtswoman, and interrupted after five minutes for a live report from the Paris Macronomania event. It’s well worth watching for anyone with a bit of French, especially as the presenter David Pujadas, a top French journalist, shows a certain fairness, and introduces him as “Climat Rittaud.”

    I’ll transcribe and maybe translate later the debate. For those in the country that invented the idea of liberty of the press, who will never ever see such a debate on their television screens.


  12. Apropos Man in a Barrel’s comment in my Ignorance 4 here are a couple of tweets from two days ago:

    I miss Ben. For most grief, compare to the value from our average troll.


  13. Who knew that the job of Governor of the Bank of England involves formulating disclosure policies for major corporations? Perhaps looking after the health of the UK economy doesn’t keep him busy enough? I wonder if he manages to tend an allotment too?


  14. MAN IN A BARREL (14 Dec 17 at 7:13 pm)
    “I wonder if he manages to tend an allotment too?”

    Of course he does. That’s how he offsets all those air miles.

    MANICBEANCOUNTER (11 Dec 17 at 11:12 pm)
    I don’t doubt your figures, but I do wonder: What’s the point of defining their madness with such precision? When they spend a fortnight at a COP-in (or is it a COP-out?) arguing about whether it’s to be 1.5 or 2°C, they’re presumably using the old IPCC slide rule, which says a doubling of CO2 is worth 1.5°C or 4°C, or possibly a bit more or a bit less. So, using the same margin of error, the conversation between heads of state presumably goes something like this:

    – I think we should aim for a maximum warming of somewhere between half a degree and three degrees.

    – No way. It’s got to be zero warming, or possibly two and a half degrees, or somewhere in between…

    Right-o. So now let’s calculate how many millions of barrels of oil we’re not going to extract in order to hit our target of a stable climate that never changes or a possible Armageddon, to the nearest thousand barrels.

    and so on.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.