Saturday, December 12, 2015

COP21 update - highlights of the final draft agreement

Sou | 11:05 PM Go to the first of 36 comments. Add a comment
In case you missed the live streaming of the final draft COP21 agreement, here are some of the key points. These are taken from the stirring speeches from the COP21 President H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the President of France François Hollande.

Some highlights from the final draft agreement

Some of the main elements of the final draft agreement are:
  • Keep well below 2C, and aim for no more than 1.5C
  • Legally binding - a universal legal agreement
  • Differentiated, depending on the circumstances and capacity of each nation
  • Updated / stocktake every five years
  • Includes an increased role for adaptation to climate change
  • Cooperation on loss and damage - $1 billion a year at the base level to be be reviewed by 2025 (I think)
  • Caters for: island states re sea level, Africa re development, South America re forest protection
  • Also addressing food security, public health, poverty and peace.

What was said

To give a flavour of how the three speakers urged the world to come to an agreement (not word for word precisely - some via translation and hindered by my note-taking)

COP21 President H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius
  • Although not everyone will have got everything they wanted, we need to show the world that the whole is worth more than the sum of individual contributions.
  • The best possible balance 
  • Powerful yet delicate
  • (If we do not come to agreement) our children would not understand or forgive us.
  • Leave no doubt on the sincerity of our commitment.
  • Quoting Nelson Mandela "It always seems impossible until it's done." and "Success is built collectively."
  • The world is holding its breath - it counts on all of us.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
  • Promises to set the world on a new path to climate resilience
  • The end is in sight
  • Nature is sending urgent signals
  • We must protect the planet that sustains us
  • This is an immense opportunity of a clean energy, climate-resistant future
  • Rise as one to the climate challenge
  • Ours for the grasping.

President of France François Hollande
  • We have to take that last step [on reaching this agreement]
  • [This agreement is] ambitious but also realistic.
  • A choice for your country, your continent, but also for the world. 
  • What brings everyone together is the planet itself
  • Unprecedented in climate negotiations

What next?

The plan is for the meeting to reconvene at around 3:45 pm Paris time, after delegates have looked at the final draft, which is currently being translated.

It's Agreed - fossil fuels are on the way out

The deal is done. Agreement is reached. Now it's time to implement it and get on with the work of eliminating fossil fuels.

If you need to know the time for posterity - it was around 5:31 am on Sunday 13 December Australian Eastern Daylight Time and 7:31 pm Paris Time (CET) on Saturday 12 December 2015.

Sou - 13 December 2012 Australian time


  1. Final draft has just been made available.


  2. Oh and I particularly like this section:

    "Emphasizing with serious concern the urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C,
    Also emphasizing that enhanced pre‐2020 ambition can lay a solid foundation for enhanced post‐2020 ambition,
    Stressing the urgency of accelerating the implementation of the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol in order to enhance pre-2020 ambition,"

    I'm actually quite impressed with the whole thing,assuming people intend to stick to it rather than just try and get around it.

  3. Hansen still thinks it's bollocks. :D


    I'm inclined to be slightly more optimistic.

    1. My first read suggests it's still a long way from being enough but it is shifting toward the right direction. I'll be interested to read what some of the experts have to say about it.

      Not sure why it's tagged as "legally binding". I expect there must be some legally binding aspects to it, but for the most part there's a lot of "voluntary" and catering to the circumstances and capacity of countries.

      It's a whole lot better than nothing - and I like the fact that it mentions an aim of 1.5C, not just 2C. Plus the five year stocktakes, and the fact that it acknowledges that current commitments won't get us where we need to be, and there is more in there to applaud as well. The next one will hopefully be a lot stronger. And hopefully by then emissions won't just have stalled, but be on a rapid decline.

      The parties first have to agree on this one, though.

    2. Yeah I agree with all of that. I'd call it a bloody good start, considering the process it had to get through. It should put our beloved Coalition on notice too, and about time.

      The Guarniad's live blog is getting feedback from various groups already. generally positive, with caveats as you'd expect.

      I'm sculling coffee and staying up until this thing is signed. I'll try not to breathe to reduce my emissions.

    3. It won't take long to find out the real picture: if these clowns return home and its business as usual then Hansen will be proven right. Will the Tories reverse policy, drop fracking, and recommit to green energy?

      Personally I was surprised at how 'strong' a statement the politicians are prepared to make. Perhaps they have decided that, as they don't intend to honour any agreement they sign, it doesn't matter what the agreement says.

    4. I wonder how long it will take for a comparison to be made with another piece of paper?

    5. Stopping all CO2 emissions worldwide right now will still have us a couple of decennia at over +1.5° C.
      I think I will live to a year of +2, too.

      Nevertheless - there is finally a consensus; a sense of urgency is there but will need to increase, as it will due to weather events.

      On the whole I tend to side with Hansen's pessimism. Still contrary to Copenhagen, Durban et c not nothing was achieved in Paris.

    6. ROFLMAO

      The environment is non-negotiable and we are extremely careful about it,” Anil Swarup, the top bureaucrat in the coal ministry, told Reuters. “(But) our dependence on coal will continue. There are no other alternatives available.”

      So "the environment is non-negotiable" and "we are extremely careful" actually means "fuck it".

    7. Contrail Chook.

      India's response to Paris with respect to their persistence with coal recalls a recent segment by Waleed Ali and Scott Stephens (What's behind our collective failure on climate change?). Aside from the fact that both Ali and Stephens have on many occasions been vigorous fluffers for the Denialati, even in recent times, and therefore lose their own moral high ground in the current discussion, they do seem to be developing a more sophisticated narrative of the issue now than in the past. I even found that much of what they said agreed with what I and others online have been saying for years.

      And Professor Robert Manne is incisive and cuts right to the chase...

      Although I was initially surprised and cautiously optimistic after the Paris result I'm every day becoming more and more pessimistic that anything substantial will be acheived before dangerous cliamte damage occurs. In particular I am convinced that at least two or three aspects of confirmation bias will operate to put a brake on action...

      Anchoring is likely to keep a significant proportion of both politicians and the general public (especially those who were/are starting from a denialist/conspiracy perspective) from really accepting the necessity for mitigation. This is likely to be exacerbated by the related issue of attention bias working with the herd behaviour of the resistant cliques in government and in society in general.

      One of the most profound problems though is what many of us have been saying for years - that humans just aren't evolved to cope with the idea of spacially- and temporally-distant possibilities of danger. This is reflected in the study of cognitive biases by the concept of normalcy bias and it's this evolutionary maladaptation that is the fundamental source of inertia that is hampering effective action.

      Some of these cognitive biases are reflected in a story yesterday on ABC radio (Is drought the new normal for the once lush south-east of SA?). Many farmers resisted the initially-reported implications of coming climate change because it conflicted with their conversativism, and now they're finally twigging to the truth of the matter but many still vote for, or otherwise support, a system that denies it. It's a story that will be writ large across the world in the coming decades, to the point that I suspect that the greatest ameliorating actions to prevent the very worst of climate change will be the involuntary consequences in decades to come of the initial damage, when societies start to wobble and previous "progress" unravels through famine, disease*, economic failure and geopolitical instability. Basically, the Four Horsemen...

      Of course that might please the Fundamentalists who believe in sky fairies, but for the rest of us and our decendants it will be hell on Earth.

      [*Not all disease issue of the future are likely to be related directly to the consequences of global warming. Antibiotic resistance and zoonoses spreading from human pressure on ecosystems will feature, although their impacts will likely be increased by climate change.]

    8. Thanks for that Bernard.
      Bernard I sometimes wonder should we care about the denialati and the just ignorant and stubborn. Then I realize that there is no lifeboat as we are all chained to Spaceship Earth with all these very stupid people.

      Your last bracketed paragraph says it all. The dangers of misuse of antibiotics and ecosystems destruction will hurt us far more than we can imagine.

      The slow boiling in the pot has not yet happened even though the evidence is incontrovertible! Bert

    9. I was involved with research into the first ab initio anti viral drug. It took us about twelve years and longer if you take into account all the work prior to this. Morons used to say to me what took you so long?
      Our methodology is now used worldwide.

      The tsunami of bacterial immunity and new virii will really test our health services.

      I see that the anti vaxxers are already paying for their stupidity and ignorance. No it is their innocent children who bear the damage.

      I was born during a smallpox epidemic in Djakarta Indonesia in 1949. The doctor left the umbilical cord connected and then inoculated my leg with smallpox vaccine. Even then it was touch and go.
      I remained connected to my mother for several hours as her immunity protected me.
      Even then the inoculation was no real guarantee as it takes time for an immune response. They did the best for me, so I am able now to write this. Bert

    10. Bernard: all true, but giving up is not an option, IMO.

    11. Oh, don't get me wrong CC, I think that we should fight until the last breathe!

      My underlying point is that it is >already a fight, and the sooner we start responding the better our chances that we (as a species) come out with only black eyes and lost teeth, rather than with snapped necks...

      We need a sense of urgency that is commensurate with the seriousness of the situation. So far very few people understand the long-term consequences of our indolent laggardness.

      Every day is another where we should see a perceptable progress to cessation of emissions. Sadly, most are are ones were we see nothing at all.

  4. Article 4 is pretty powerful, if interpreted in a straightforward manner.

    "In order to achieve the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2, Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science..."

    That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for show pony tricks.

    1. It's open-ended and non-specific - how far away is "as soon as possible"? (The cynic in me.)

      BTW - sorry for the delay - Google blogger is being overzealous with the spam filter :(

    2. Yes the "as soon as possible" will result in all sorts of blithering, but the "rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science" is going to be very tightly constrained by the time anyone gets around to it. It already is, and is only going to rapidly get a lot tighter.

    3. Some (generally positive) feedback from scientists here:


    4. I don't see how 1.5 C is possible. Were already at about 1 C, and there's another 0.5 C or so baked in as the system comes into equilibrium (see e.g., Meehl et al. 2005).

    5. Final plenary had just been delayed for two hours. Somebody must be doing a bit of dummy spitting.

    6. I'm keen to see how Hunt and Bishop and Truffles will try to spin it when they come home (wagging their tails behind them). I expect lots of shit-eating grins and much mellifluousness.

    7. Bother. I was trying to reply to Millicent there.

  5. That the agreement is legally binding concerns me for the fact that it now has to make it through our beloved Republican US Congress. Still, it is heartening that pretty much the entirety of world leaders are unanimous that AGW is a problem and something must be done.

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  7. never mind my last comment, I made a very embarrassing mistake reading some data :P

    1. That's a line that could be inserted into a remarkably large percentage of WUWT articles.

  8. Ok, they just adopted it a few minutes ago. It's a done deal.

  9. Woo hoo! It's official! Bishop has just said that Australia will do bugger all for the next two years! Yay us!


    Now to wait for Hunt and Truffles to try an spin it. I'm sure Truffles will be very innovative about it.

  10. The fight is far from over, sure, but here's the real take away from COP21:

    *Denial is Dead*.

    The Zombies will still shamble around trying to suck out the brains of the slow-moving and slow-witted (and far, far too many 'ordinary' people are too intellectually lazy and/or cowardly to embrace this, the real issue of their time) but the grown-ups now own this debate.

    1. I could have missed it, but I don't know that even one of their moth-eaten talking points stumbled into the spotlight even long enough to be shot down.

      I think they may simply have been ignored, utterly.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Yep. When your best efforts to hold back a tide sweeping the world consist of Ted Cruz's ridiculous dog-and-pony (no)show, or the rantings of a Lord Monckton, you're dead in the water.

      If you're reading this, Dear Denier (and we know you are) then also read the writing on the wall: you've been an idiot for long enough. Get with the program, or get out of the way.

  11. What a bunch of BS. 150 years of CO2 emissions and the Earth is fine.


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