Paris Climate Talks: Not Really About Climate, Just All About Money And Trust

But, mostly the money

(NY Times) The international climate change negotiations entering their second and final week encompass a vast and complicated array of political, economic and legal questions. But at bottom, the talks boil down to two issues: trust and money.

In this global forum, no one questions the established science that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are warming the planet — or that both developed and developing economies must all eventually lower their greenhouse emissions to stave off a future that could wreak havoc on the world’s safety and economic stability.

If “no one questions”, why did the vast majority take long, fossil fueled trips to Paris?

In a major breakthrough, 184 governments have already submitted plans detailing how they will cut their domestic emissions after 2020.

Those pledges are expected to make up the core of a new accord, which could be signed next weekend. The agreement is also expected to require countries to return to the table at least once every 10 years with even more stringent emissions reduction pledges.

But can those governments be trusted to do what they say they will do?

That is the crucial question that will determine whether a Paris climate change accord has teeth, or whether it is little more than an expression of good will.

Consider that almost no country kept to their Kyoto Protocol agreements. Still, it’s not really about trust (nor climate change), it’s about the money

But rich countries such as the United States have insisted that most of that money come from private investments, rather than taxpayer dollars.

President Obama’s initial pledge of $3 billion in climate finance over three years is already meeting with fierce objections from Congress.

But India has demanded that a final text include legally binding language that would commit the developed world to allocating the money from public funds.

“We will push for an increase in public spending,” said Ajay Mathur, an Indian climate change negotiator. “We want developed countries to provide resources that can help mobilize capital. The amounts that have been pledged are not enough.”

The non-developed and 2nd world nations want lots and lots of cash from the developed world, and a legally binding promise that they’ll get it. They do not want to hear that some private entities might possibly pony up that money: they want it forcibly confiscated from taxpayers. A redistribution scheme to enrich their treasuries, rather than having private entities build low carbon infrastructure and similar measures.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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