As we all know, the Paris Agreement was secured at COP 21, which took place between 30th November and 11th December 2015 in Paris. The Agreement itself was entered into on 12th December 2015, and came into force on 4th November 2016.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the United Nations website thinks the Paris Agreement represents a big deal, and certainly it is much-loved of the climate-concerned, many of whom seem to think that if only we all complied with it, all would be well. The UN website claims that it is a legally binding agreement, though as I pointed out in “A Lot of Hot Air”, enforcing its provisions is practically impossible, given the lack of sanctions and enforcement mechanism. By implication, the commentary on the UN website suggests that the Nationally Determined Contributions (“NDCs”) submitted by the parties to the Agreement are mandatory, even though the contents of the NDCs can be whatever the parties want them to be (and in many cases those contents are pretty uninspiring stuff in terms of the supposed plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions).

The parties were also supposed to formulate and submit by 2020 Long-Term Low greenhouse gas emission Development Strategies (“LT-LEDS”). We’ll take a look at how that’s going shortly, but first let’s look at the developments along the road from Paris to Glasgow. It has been a rather circuitous route, both geographically and in terms of outcomes.

Bonn

The next meeting took place at Bonn from 16th to 26th May 2016, and a series of mini-conferences actually took place. It was the 44th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (“SBI”); and the 44th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (“SBSTA44”); and the first session of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (“APA1”). The number of meetings held is something to behold, though I’m not sure what was actually achieved. A lot of people must have attended, though. Taking one day at random, 23rd May 2016, between 8am and 10am alone, there was a SIDS Daily Co-ordination meeting; a Youth non-governmental organisation meeting; an African Group daily co-ordination meeting; a G77 and China daily co-ordination meeting; a COMIFAC meeting (no, I didn’t know what it is either, until I looked it up – it’s a French acronym, and it stands, in English, for the Central African Forest Commission); a meeting of the Women and Gender constituency; a meeting of Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations; a meeting of business and industry non-governmental organisations; a meeting of research and independent non-governmental organisations; and a meeting of the Environmental Integrity Group.

If I’d been there, I’m quite sure I wouldn’t know which meeting to attend. Are deniers allowed in Integrity Groups?

Marrakech (COP 22)

COP 22 took place at Marrakech between 7th and 18th November 2016. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the UN website reporting on the end of the COP was gushing with regard to the achievements of the meeting, but in reality it’s difficult to see what of substance was achieved, when this sort of sound-bite was the best they could come up with:

“Countries at UN conference pledge to press ahead with implementation of Paris Agreement.”

They also affirmed their “commitment” to the “full implementation” of the Paris Agreement, and the conference:

focused on various actions and initiatives taken by Governments and non-state actors to address climate change”

“…developed country [sic] reaffirmed their $100 billion mobilization goal per year by 2020 to support climate action by developing countries.” [We saw how that went in ‘More Hot Air’.]

All countries also called on non-state actors to join them:

“for immediate and ambitious action and mobilization, building on their important achievements”.

That went well, then.

Bonn again (COP 23)

COP 23 took place in Bonn between 6th and 17th November 2017. It doesn’t seem to have achieved anything solid, save for the agreement of “motherhood and apple pie” in the form of Sustainable Development Goals relating to the following:

  • No Poverty;
  • No Hunger;
  • Good Health and well-being;
  • Quality education [unfortunately they refer to “climate education” at this point];
  • Gender equality;
  • Water and sanitation [the point was made that to meet the plans would cost around $295 billion p.a.  The European Investment Bank offered $75 million for a project in Fiji – by happy coincidence, Fiji was in the Chair at Bonn – and that was it in terms of financing];
  • Affordable clean energy;
  • Decent work and economic growth;
  • Industry, innovation and infrastructure;
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities;
  • Responsible consumption and production;
  • Climate action;
  • Life below water;
  • Life on land;
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions;
  • Partnerships for the goals.

A cynic could say that the above list is just a pretext for an international body to oversee all aspects of national level governance. The very thought.

Meanwhile, how was the finance going?

Areas where progress has been less than stellar center on the means of implementation. Developed countries had promised that they would ramp up climate financing to US$100 billion a year by 2020. Developing countries, however, are not seeing many signs that this money will materialize.”

As well as can be expected then.

Katowice (COP 24)

COP 24 took place in Katowice between 2nd and 14th December 2018. The timing was, perhaps, unfortunate, given that the gilets jaunes protests had commenced in France not long before, in opposition to a planned rise in that country in duty rates on petrol and diesel. A relatively modest (by the standards of these things) 14,000 delegates descended on Poland, and failed to agree on much for quite a long time. As the Guardian’s report put it shortly afterwards:

“The mood was more one of relief than triumph on Sunday when the world’s governments eventually found common ground at the UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland. This was not just because exhausted delegates were glad to go home after negotiations that dragged on 30 hours beyond the deadline.”

Delegates eventually managed to agree a rulebook for implementing the Paris Agreement (but with many details left until the following year). Arguments over carbon credits were left unresolved, and that particular can was kicked down the road for another year. Absent was any meaningful discussion of ramping up targets. And the USA (under Trump) joined forces with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to prevent the Conference endorsing the IPCC’s findings, and merely commending the timing of the report.

The Guardian’s report on Katowice solemnly informed us that we had until 2020 to resolve these issues or it would be too late, which calls into question why we’re bothering in 2021, since that’s three years later.

Madrid (not Santiago) (COP 25)

The Presidency of COP 25 was given to Chile, and the conference should have taken place in Santiago. However, whereas the shadow of the gilets jaunes was cast over Katowice in 2018, by 2019 the Chileans had a bigger problem. Although protests in Ecuador around the same time were about the reduction of fuel subsidies, in Chile the cause of the protests seems complex. It’s generally agreed that they kicked off in protest against the rising price of metro costs in Santiago, and they rapidly spread around the country, with a great deal of violence.

The Spanish government came to the rescue, Greta had to hitch a lift back across the Atlantic, and COP 25 eventually took place in Madrid from 2nd to 13th December 2019, still under the Presidency of Chile. Despite the change of location, 20,000 delegates still managed to find their way.

In many ways it was a repeat of Katowice. At the end of the allotted time, there was still no agreement. Despite extending talks for a further two days, some of the media reported on the end of the talks with reports like “Failure In Madrid As COP25 Climate Summit Ends In Disarray”.

Yet again the final text was watered down, and contained vague promises to enhance emissions reduction targets, but crucially the final details of the rulebook for the Paris Agreement remained outstanding and global carbon market rules were not agreed.

Then a real crisis occurred and COP 26 did not take place at all in 2020. And now we find ourselves bombarded with increasingly shrill media headlines and propaganda ahead of the delayed COP 26 in Glasgow later this year, and we still have six months to go (it’s due to take place between 1st and 12th November 2021). The desperation and panic are palpable. Will crucial agreements finally be reached? Or will it be yet more hot air?

Postscript

What of those vital LT-LEDS? Well, a meeting took place at Bangkok in July 2018 “to help Parties kick off the discussion on formulating the LT-LEDS”. The UN website page on this still describes the report on the event as “coming soon”, so I can’t tell you much more about it. I’m struggling to find out how many countries have actually submitted LT-LEDS to date, the most up-to-date information I’ve located being on the UN website. The formal obligation is set out thus:

The COP, by its decision 1/CP 21, paragraph 35, invited Parties to communicate, by 2020, to the secretariat mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies in accordance with Article 4, paragraph 19, of the Agreement.

So, as we stand here in May 2021, they should all have been delivered by now. Instead the website tells us that 29 have been delivered to date. The vast majority are from European countries (and one is from the EU, despite the fact that many of the 29 were delivered by EU countries). If the EU is considered a single entity, so that the LT-LEDS of EU member countries are ignored (after all, only the EU submitted an NDC on behalf of all its member states), then the number falls to 16. The non-European countries (there are non-EU submissions from Norway, Switzerland, UK and Ukraine) who have complied are: Republic of Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Costa Rica, Japan, Fiji, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Benin, USA, Mexico and Canada. And that’s it! 

Oh well.

35 Comments

  1. My fondest hope is that yet another brave soul with integrity will release yet more evidence as in 2009. And once again show the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the climatocracy and derail the social psychosis of the climate consensus.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Attendees:
    COP21 Paris: 40k (Politico) – 50k (COP21 website)
    COP 22 Marrakech: 20k (wiki)
    COP 23 Bonn: 19k (Ecowatch)
    COP 24 Katowice: 30k (Carbon Brief)
    COP 25 Madrid: 27k (Carbon Brief).
    COP 26 Glasgow: 30k (expected).

    At some point Carbon Brief started reporting on individual countries.

    Bonn: Côte d’Ivoire 492, Guinea 355, Democratic Republic of the Congo 340, Morocco 253….. UK 45

    Slightly lower numbers are obtained for later shindigs, although impoverished African countries maintain their grip on the top 5.

    The cost of Paris is given as Eur 187,000,000.

    For COP 23 there is a PLOP: a provisional list of participants. They changed the name by COP 24.

    [edit: impoverised -> impoverished.]

    Liked by 3 people

  3. COP 26: Boris Johnson: “… that as a country and as a society, as a planet, as a species, we must now act…”

    Previously:

    COP 25: Ursula von der Leyen: “… we have to act now, we have to implement our policies now.”
    COP 24: Sir David Attenborough: “Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now.”
    COP 23: UNFCCC: “… time is really running out and everyone simply must do much better…”, etc.
    COP 22: Manuel Pulgar-Vidal: “Failure to act now will lead to catastrophic consequences.”
    COP 21: Mary Robinson: “Time is running out to avoid dangerous climate change.”
    COP 20: UNFCCC: “Global warming is happening faster than expected and time is running out”.
    COP 19: CARE: “The time left to avoid dangerous climate change is fast running out…”
    COP 18: CIEL: “…we need to act now before it’s too late.”
    COP 17: Mary Robinson: ” Time is running out…. and there is a lot of work to be done.”
    COP 16: Anote Tong: “For the most vulnerable among us, time is running out. We demand…” etc.
    COP 15: Prince Charles: “the grim reality is that our planet has reached a point of crisis and we have only seven years…”
    COP 14: World Council of Churches: “… act fast and act now!”
    COP 13: Ban Ki Moon: “We must take action now.”
    COP 12: Caroline Lucas: “Scientists tell us we have within 10 years in which emissions need to peak and then fall…”

    It’s a bit like watching a never-ending auction. “Going… going… almost gone… going… wait for it… going… gone!… just joking… going…”

    Liked by 6 people

  4. The endless deadlines to “save the planet” is not really any different than the marketing strategy of televangelists. They claim to have received the revelation that Christ’s return is only x years in the future. Please send money now to help save more souls so they can be ruptured up to heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We’re less than two weeks from the tenth anniversary of the last big Rapture rupture. Here’s the rather wonderful start to a 2010 article in SFGATE:

    Harold Camping lets out a hearty chuckle when he considers the people who believe the world will end in 2012.

    “That date has not one stitch of biblical authority,” Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world. “It’s like a fairy tale.”

    The real date for the end of times, he says, is in 2011.

    21st May 2011, to be exact. Or that was when the Rapture was due to start.

    Speaking of missed deadlines (and attempting to get back on topic):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8429207.stm

    Come on, Auntie. It’s been more than 136 months now. It’s time to name them. Don’t be shy.

    Like

  6. Vinny, your link just produces an old page on the BBC website which says “Climate criminals?” and nothing else. Should there be more?

    Like

  7. By the way, it has indeed been a long road to Glasgow. And who has predicted the progress with greater accuracy, alarmists or sceptics? Looking at the Cliscep archives, I find this very prescient piece from Alex Cull, in October 2015:

    Detonating Virtuous Cycles at COP21

    Worth another read, IMO. Thanks Alex.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. And thanks, Mark – blimey, I’d forgotten that post. Time flies, indeed! And on that subject, here’s a transcript of Boris (“Nothing wrong with ‘bunny hugging'”) Johnson’s COP 26 speech back in Feb 2020 (tidied up and edited for legibility):
    https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/2020/20200204_bj

    “And in the hurricanes and the bushfires and the melting of the ice caps, and the acidification of the oceans, the evidence is now overwhelming and it is taking its toll, this phenomenon of global warming is taking its toll on the most vulnerable populations around the planet, which is why the UK has now committed to £11.6bn in tackling global climate change and in financing climate initiatives around the world.”

    Since then, we’ve had a year of lockdowns, the furlough scheme, the shutting down of whole swathes of the national economy and a projected cost of something over £300 billion to the UK in 2020/21 (increased public borrowing, etc., according to the OBR).

    Will they still be inclined to sign away £11.6 billion on this fantasy? I suppose they might, anyway. What’s another £11.6 billion? It’s all a bit surreal.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When all you have is other people’s money, what does it matter how much you pledge? It’s the difference between being concerned and committed. However the recent news about masterminds (Deben?) campaigning to switch the cost of “unusables” subsidies onto gas prices makes me wonder whether the GWPF should put out a contract on the CCC

    Like

  10. Alan, thank you.
    🤣😬 ask me how much I despise autofill.
    Please any moderator change the typo to
    “rapture”

    [I feel, once a good joke has been made of it, unable to correct the record. Better health next time! — mod]

    Like

  11. I am trying to confirm that I can comment. Thanks.

    [Tigerz, I dunno what is going on. I found a couple of your comments in spam and released them. But as they all say the same thing, I’m deleting the extras for tidiness! Your difficulty is WordPress’s doing, not Cliscep’s. Please try again.]

    Like

  12. tigerzntl: I’m helping Mark (the host of this thread) and his normal moderator here, out of the goodness of a sceptical girl’s heart.

    What browser and machine are you using? You obviously can successfully comment. Your ‘account’ is with WordPress.com (WPc), not with Cliscep. You can delete it in the sense of unsubscribing from WPc but that would affect your ability to comment on any WPc blog, including for example Watts Up With That and Climate Etc (Judith Curry’s). And many others. The term ‘reinstall’ also makes no sense to me. You’d just sign up with WPc again. I doubt that would make any difference to your ability to ‘Like’ a comment here or anywhere in the WPc universe though.

    Sorry not to have been more help. Knowing the type of your browser (and version thereof), plus operating system and/or machine, might just give us some further clues. All the best!

    Like

  13. Thanks for your input. I think it is likely I have messed up my account settings using Firefox with Windows 10.
    Having spent lots of time trying to fix it I will try using Microsoft Edge tomorrow after deleting the Firefox one.
    It is frustrating that you cannot chat to any support and the recovery account link did not work.But I will try again
    sometime tomorrow.

    [Edge is almost certainly a better bet. Let us know how you get on! — Sceptica]

    Like

  14. tigerzntl

    I’m sorry that you’re having a struggle. I’m sorry also that my technical expertise is so lacking that I have been unable to help, though I am grateful to Sceptica for trying to do so. I’m not sure whether your comment about not being able to chat to support is aimed at the computer giants or at Cliscep, but if it’s aimed at Cliscep, all I can do is apologise again, and point out that we’re just a group of bloggers who do other things during the day, and simply do our best to respond to comments when we see them.

    Better luck tomorrow.

    [I’m pretty sure it was directed at WordPress.com support Mark, given the context. — Sceptica]

    Like

  15. I have logged in twice already then this option appeared.

    [Tigerz, I’m not sure what the trouble is. You seem to be coming through loud and clear. Is the problem that you cannot comment with your usual WordPress identity? You clearly *can* comment. I’ve removed the spare comments, and will like this one to make up for the like you lost when I binned one of your comments! – Jit]

    Liked by 3 people

  16. According to Guido Fawkes, the GWPF have sent a letter to the PM suggesting that COP 26 be held as a purely virtual event:
    https://order-order.com/2021/05/12/boris-urged-to-make-cop26-virtual-save-millions-cut-emissions/

    “The Global Warming Policy Foundation has, for the first and likely final time of his presidency, urged Boris to follow Joe Biden’s lead and turn this year’s COP26 summit into a purely virtual event; a move which as well as being more Covid secure, would save taxpayers £200 million.

    A letter sent to the PM by GWPF director Benny Peiser points out Biden’s recent Leaders’ Summit on Climate functioned perfectly smoothly despite not being a physical meeting, and prevented the 30,000 delegates-worth of CO2-emitting flights COP26’s Glasgow summit would entail.”

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Alex, this sort of common sense doesn’t work in Guardianland:

    “Boris Johnson’s advisers may push for a virtual Cop26. He should ignore them
    Fiona Harvey
    The UK must risk an in-person meeting in Glasgow if this crucial climate conference is to be a success”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/12/boris-johnsons-advisers-virtual-cop26-glasgow

    “With less than six months to go, these questions are pressing. The UK cannot make the call alone – the UN and the Cop Bureau, made up of developed and developing country representatives, have the final say – but the UK will have major influence. Johnson’s advisers may push for a safe, predictable, virtual Cop26. The prime minister should ignore them, go with his instincts and take the risk of a real in-person Cop26, where his unique personal appeal, infuriating to many, could be his great strength. Glasgow could yet be his finest hour.”

    Astonishingly, the seemingly BoJo-hating Guardian even includes this statement in this article:

    “The irony, for those who would persuade the UK’s prime minister to have a stage-managed online meeting, is that Boris Johnson would shine at an in-person Cop. His gift for personal relations, for smooth talking and cajolery, jollying and chivvying and flattering people into doing what he wants, is precisely what is needed to bring the reluctant to the table and magic up a consensus from unlikely bedfellows.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reading between the lines, what I think the Guardian writers might be bearing in mind is that the substance of the COP itself is indeed safe and predictable and therefore forgettable and not newsworthy. Long speeches by delegates, tedious arguments over a particular word or a phrase that go on long into the night – there’s nothing that’s particularly stimulating that will do much to capture the public’s attention.

    However, there’s also all the stuff that goes on strictly outside the bounds of the conference – marches, demonstrations, stunts by XR and Greenpeace, birth strikers, school strikers, Greta, people on stilts and bicycles, people in polar bear suits and carrying placards. All that is highly visual and noisy, ideally suited to grab viewers’ attention on the TV news and (or so the Guardian writers hope) keep climate change alive in the public’s perceptions.

    A Zoom conference would still have all the monologues and platitudes and the boring long drawn-out arguments over whether the word “ambition” or a different word or phrase would be the best one to use. But it just wouldn’t have the circus!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. I can well understand why £200 million pounds could be seen as a price worth paying to have Boris’ in-room charisma at a climate conference. After all, the man is well known for having enough of it to change the climate. I’m sure they even wrote a song about it. It’s the one that goes:

    “Who can take a sunrise
    Sprinkle it with dew
    Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two?
    The Randy Man can”

    More to the point:

    “Oh who can take tomorrow
    Dip it in a dream
    Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream?”

    Yep, It’s that Randy Man again.

    Like

  20. Oh who can make a hockey stick
    Mend it up for free
    Well Michael Mann only needs a tree.

    Oh who can take a bristle cone
    Measure it with glee
    And find no sign of warmth as far as he can see

    Oh, who can turn lake sediments
    Into support for us,
    plus stalagmites and corals with little or no fuss.

    But when proxies fall into steep decline
    We need a Nature’s trick
    Out come the thermometers and a call to Mick

    Why once again the mighty Michael Mann can.

    SbB

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “UK insists Cop26 must be held in person if possible
    Alok Sharma is working with health experts and Scottish government on best way for climate summit to go ahead”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/14/uk-will-vaccinate-and-test-to-ensure-cop26-is-in-person-event

    “The UK government is considering how to use Covid-19 vaccines and testing to try to ensure vital UN climate talks this year go ahead in person, rather than as an online event.

    Alok Sharma, a former UK business secretary and now president-designate of Cop26, the climate summit to be held in Glasgow this November, said: “I have always been very clear that this should be the most inclusive Cop ever. I have been travelling around the world and it is very clear to me that people want to see a physical Cop, in particular developing countries want this to be face to face.”

    Sharma is working with health experts, the Scottish government and other officials on the best way to ensure the two-week conference, which 30,000 people were originally expected to attend, can go ahead.

    This would include using vaccines and testing for Covid-19, Sharma said in a speech at the Whitelee windfarm near Glasgow on Friday morning. However, he said he could not yet go into detail on what would be involved.

    “We have to ensure the safety of delegates, and the people of Glasgow,” he said. “We are working with health authorities, looking at Covid-19 measures, and part of that is vaccination.”

    There has been speculation that Cop26 could be changed to a virtual event, like last year’s UN general assembly, and the White House climate summit held by Joe Biden last month. The Guardian understands that some within government have argued a virtual Cop could be safer and less susceptible to last-minute changes or even potential cancellation if the Covid-19 pandemic worsens this autumn.”

    Like

  22. Mark, in my view there are two forces at work here: first, it is a “no-brainer” that a virtual conference would show that the world’s representatives are actually prepared to give up vol-au-vents and champagne and, in the name of saving the planet are nobly prepared to stay at home. So it would gain a certain cachet from that. Second, said folk do not want any horse-trading, arm-twisting etc to be anywhere near the public, for fear of embarrassment: everything of importance must take place out of the public gaze, but that’s not possible if all the meetings are over Zoom.

    The second force beats the first by a long chalk. And there’s a third, too: the organisers have a sneaking suspicion that if anything at all is to be achieved at COP26, it has to happen in person. Can you imagine a timeshare pressure sales session working with virtual participation? It’s different once you’re in the door and they’ve given you a t-shirt and a glass of cheap fizz.

    Like

  23. Jit. I disagree. And if a new infectious variant were to erupt from the mass gatherings of the climate committed (the Gorbals Variant?) either home grown or imported from darkest Peru or Africa, or from the mixing of covid variants? What then? Will victims be spread through the NHS, cluttering it up even further? (A COP-out program) or will they be bundled onto aircraft and repatriated spreading an unexpected climate legacy world wide?

    Surely those in charge will recognise the risks and prevent the climate scare message from literally going viral.

    Mind you, if the Japanese can hold an Olympic Games…

    Like

  24. Alan, I think the mistake you’re making is to assume that common sense will prevail.

    These people are always talking about “setting an example” whenever the issue of China is brought up (i.e. why are we even bothering in the west, given what China’s doing?). Setting an example is always primly trotted out, along with other similar phrases such as “leading the way”.

    Well, the best example they could set in the middle of (apparently) twin covid and climate crises, is to avoid travelling, thereby minimising the risks of spreading covid and its numerous variants, and also avoiding huge amounts of GHG emissions. But that example won’t be set. The “show” must go on, and I strongly suspect it will.

    Like

  25. But Mark, how can one make judgements upon a government that on the one hand is as inept as that which purchased unusable PPE at ruinous prices, yet on the other hand, was capable of employing a venture capitalist to oversee the UK’s highly successful procurement of Covid vaccines? Might those responsible for the latter, stand up and decide what should be done about the Glasgow boondoggle.

    Like

  26. Alan, fair comments, but I don’t actually think the UK government is in control of this process – the climate juggernaut is calling the shots.

    Like

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