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As the Paris climate summit approaches activists are gearing up for the final push through November and into December, although the movement suffered a bit of a downer over the weekend. Hurricane Patricia, building as a major hurricane of unprecedented proportions, fizzled as a climate mega-disaster into a mere tropical storm, leaving behind no opportunities for media and negotiators to use it as a pre-Paris PR bonanza.
As news of Patricia reached Europe at a climate change negotiating session in Bonn on Friday, the head of the Mexico delegation, Roberto Dondisch, said Patricia was evidence the frog was already in the boiling water. A reporter for Climate House quoted Dondish saying “I don’t think I need to say more about the urgency to get this deal done.”
When the total death toll is near zero, the climate angle is also near zero. But the climate machine kept rolling. Reports from the negotiation front are garbled and inconsistent, but a major session held in Bonn ended last Friday without any clear proposals for the final Paris sessions.
In all, 196 nations will try to come up with a plan to reduce carbon emissions over coming decades so as to keep the world from slipping into what the UN predicts will be climate catastrophe.
A so-called draft text of an agreement, now up to 55 pages, is an unreadable mash of clauses, options and parentheses. They are fighting over carbon targets, temperature targets and – above all — cash transfer targets, in recognition of the fact that the major objective of climate change policy makers has always been to orchestrate a massive transfer of wealth from rich nations to poor nations.
On Monday, Catholic bishops from “every continent on earth” (in the words of the official announcement) appealed to nations meeting in Paris to adopt a “legally binding” agreement to “strongly limit” temperature increases. To control the weather, forget prayers and get on with the business of “complete de-carbonization by mid-century.”
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