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Paris Climate Deal: How Could They Do This to Us?

Paris Climate Deal: How Could They Do This to Us?


On Sunday morning, 13 December 2015, the 2015 Paris Climate Summit (COP21) finally wound to close as the last decisions were agreed. At almost 1 a.m. observers representing youth, women, labour unions, research centers, indigenous peoples, and business were asked their opinion. Most media had already left COP21. Cleaners were dismantling the massive structures that had been erected to house thousands of conference participants for two weeks plus two overrun days. The Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change had finished their work, late as usual and with an usual outcome.

To his credit, COP21 President, former French Prime Minster and currently French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius returned to the Hall in the closing minutes to listen to the voices of the observers who he had banned from the negotiations two weeks earlier. One could see the consternation on his face as several observers lambasted the agreement for being too little too late. The youth for example, all but called Fabius a traitor to their generation and pledged to continue to work for the future their leaders had failed to ensure them. The business or BINGO constituency was the lone exception. For them the agreement meant more business opportunities and that the commodification of the planet was guaranteed, at least for near term corporate profits.

Fabius had been grinning like a Cheshire cat a few hours earlier as he graveled down the adoption of the Paris Agreement. It was irrelevant that he had done so without acknowledging the States seeking the floor either in the preliminary drafting Comité de Paris or in the plenary COP21 which convened in record time immediately afterwards. Like the scenes from Sorcosse movies that donned the walls of the Paris train station Gare de Lyon, the celebration in the makeshift Conference Hall in the northern Paris suburb of Le Bourget seemed perfectly scripted.

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