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 https://www.oneplanetsummit.fr/en/
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.