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Marrakech: In the end, there is nothing left but spin, and all the momentum that $28 billion dollars a week can buy

Here’s the washup on the end of yet another UN COP junket. Marrakech, struck by panic, ends with a whimper, did anyone notice?

“My only worry is the money.”

Climate Money elephantWay back in that other era before the US election, delegates to the latest two-week-Olympic-junket with 200 nations in Morocco knew things could go badly. On November 4, Reuters said there was “…widespread unease”. But it wasn’t about the climate, it was “about finance …”

One delegate accidentally summed it up:

“My only worry is the money,” said Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of Democratic Republic of Congo, who heads a group of the 48 least developed nations. “It’s worrying when you know that Trump is a climate change sceptic,” he told Reuters.

Who cares about the weather, eh? The rest of the article is about the type of cash cows at stake.

Then the unthinkable happened: Trump. The panic began. Things were thrown into “disarray”. Everything was “imperiled”:

People were walking around looking pretty shellshocked,” says Dr Bill Hare, perched on a chair in the cavernous media tent at the United Nations climate talks in Morocco. “If you hugged an American there was a good chance they’d burst into tears.”

An emotional ride, The Guardian.

Michael Kile documents some of the derailing of this gravy train:

“A third of the people here are walking around like zombies, like the walking dead, not sure what to do,” said UC Berkeley Professor Daniel Kammen, speaking from Morocco. Many believe the honeymoon is over.

Climate Gravy Train, photo.

In the end, there is nothing but spin, and all the momentum that $28 billion dollars a week can buy:

Each year $1.5 trillion dollars is spent on the green industry. That momentum means the Green scare machine will keep rolling for now,  but it has taken a hit like no other. The Trump effect can’t be underestimated.

“Campaigners react with ‘extreme disappointment'”

‘This year’s inaction brings us one step closer to a future with a climate that is incompatible with dignified life’

Indignity, here we come.

In most media articles Paris is described as a “success”. Yet as far as the wind and oceans are concerned, the outcome in Marrakech is no different. Practically nothing.

Paris was always an enviro-fail, that achieved nothing much more than a non-binding, non-treaty, with voluntary commitments. (Although there was potentially a sting if the toothless wonder was tied to “other” legally binding deals like the TPP or domestic legislation). Paris was, however, a PR success, and Marrakech is not even that. They bluffed and puffed, and rushed to beat the Donald, but Paris “coming into force” means nothing except to the few rich silly patsy nations which are still volunteering to pay.

Even the kings of hype are struggling to make out that COP 22 was any kind of win

The pro-pro-crisis ClimateChangeNews site admit Trump owned the agenda.

 It will go down in history as the Trump COP

Wait for it: the big two successes…

Here are the top takeaways from two weeks of crunching over the nitty-gritty of how to put the Paris Agreement into practice.

Message to Trump

On the penultimate scheduled day, the conference adopted a call for all nations (yes, you too Donald) to honour promises made in Paris and renew their attempts to stave off disaster.

The one-page document contained little new information. But it was absolutely necessary, said observers, for the conference to make a political statement of resolve after the election of a climate sceptic to the US presidency.

Righto. Top takeaway looks pretty “big” then — a one page plea to play nice?

Then there are “Ratifications galore“:

Here’s one for lovers of palindromic numbers. During the conference, 11 governments ratified the Paris climate agreement – Australia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Finland, Gambia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and the UK. They brought the total for November to 22 and since the beginning of September a cavalcade of 88 nations have joined the party.

Remembering that “ratification” means countries agree to turn up and put in a plan and write a report. They will get the naughty finger waived if they do not live up to the promises they set themselves. It’s that serious. And of those 88 nations, they are probably including the USA. Which as we all know will likely chop up all of Obama’s empty promises.

 This is as good it gets: RenewEconomy lay out the success in all its glory:

Marrakech COP22: Climate deal emerges stronger from Trump shock, but plenty to do

They find a fellow Green traveller to quote:

“This has been a remarkable meeting of nations. Countries, states, cities, companies and others have responded with grace, vigour and guts to the election of President Trump which could have been a massive blow to climate action,” said John Connor, CEO The Climate Institute from the talks in Marrakech.

 And these meetings are remarkable (I went to Bali). They are a remarkable two week funded gala love in, with a few dinners and dances too. I’m sure lots of the dedicated scientists and NGO’s people there feel like they are working hard (and listening to boring speeches), but what other science stream, industry, anything, gets a two week overseas trip with friends every single year? Olympians have to work for four years, and have no guarantees of anything.

How many degrees of warming did they prevent and how many storms did they slow?

The outcome — plans, fantasies, proclamations, and  promises to “do stuff” 30 years from now:

My favourite is number 2, where Germany, Canada, and the US will have cake, eat cake, give cake, all for free… and be “competitive”.

In the aftermath of the Trump election a range of commitments and actions were taken including:

  1. Australia, UK, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Malaysia and others ratified the Paris Agreement;
  2. Germany, Canada and the U.S published their 2050 plans to reduce their economies to near net zero emissions, manage the transition, and maximise their competitiveness in a decarbonising world;
  3. A  2050 platform was launched for countries, cities and companies as part of an emerging inclusive UN architecture of accountability and assistance;
  4. The UK published proposals to phase out its coal-fired generators by 2025, Germany’s plans include reducing 2030 emissions from energy by 61 per cent and a commission to manage the transition;
  5. The Climate Vulnerable Forum, 48 countries representing 1 billion people, issued a Marrakesh Vision, a plan to achieve 100 per cent domestic renewable energy as well as update post 2020 commitments and prepare 2050 strategies;
  6. 196 countries supported the Marrakech Action Proclamation championing the Paris Agreement as well as highlighting the urgency of action;
  7. Almost 400 companies, joined separately by BHP, called on President Trump not to walk away from the Paris Agreement.

Most of all, they agreed to do it all again

The most important thing for the green machine is that there will be another couple of two-week gala events paid for mostly by taxpayers all around the world. These grand theatres are important rewards for volunteers, dutiful journalists, and scientists, and a good source of press releases.  Not that any nation will reveal what their taxpayers have to stump up to make this happen. I did try. But the money drains from taxpayers, is split like the Amazon delta, and then funnels back in the to UNFCCC events from a thousand directions. It would take a PhD thesis to dissect all the grants, travel allowances and departmental donations. I once asked Christopher Monckton if he could pose a question in Parliament about the size of the UK’s budget for the IPCC, which he did, but the answer was that “it would cost too much to find out” or something similarly vague.

Image Credit: Original Photo Youxue Hong

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