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The Climate Agreement

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I’m a little surprised at the vigor of the Paris climate agreement. Of course the nations of the world now have to follow through and I’m super skeptical of that, in no small part because of the Republican Party in the world’s largest economy. Certainly President Obama and John Kerry showed a lot of leadership here while increased domestic outrage over China’s unbelievable air pollution levels forced the Chinese government to sign on. Poor nations received a principle of payments from industrial nations to help mitigate the impact of climate change on their people, but none of that is legally binding, so we’ll see. But if–and this is a huge if–the nations follow through on the deal, the benefits are enormous:

Those plans alone, once enacted, will cut emissions by half the levels required to stave off the worst effects of global warming. The national plans vary vastly in scope and ambition — while every country is required to put forward a plan, there is no legal requirement dictating how, or how much, countries should cut emissions.

Thus, the Paris pact has built in a series of legally binding requirements that countries ratchet up the stringency of their climate change policies in the future. Countries will be required to reconvene every five years, starting in 2020, with updated plans that would tighten their emissions cuts.

Countries will also be legally required to reconvene every five years starting in 2023 to publicly report on how they are doing in cutting emissions compared to their plans. They will be legally required to monitor and report on their emissions levels and reductions, using a universal accounting system.

That hybrid legal structure was explicitly designed in response to the political reality in the United States. A deal that would have assigned legal requirements for countries to cut emissions at specific levels would need to go before the United States Senate for ratification. That language would have been dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate, where many members question the established science of human-caused climate change, and still more wish to thwart Mr. Obama’s climate change agenda.

The whole world has to deal with the mendacity of the Republicans. Christ.

It’s also worth a reminder that climate change will impact every part of our lives, including our cultural heritage. In France alone, its iconic wine and truffles are in severe danger.

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  • N__B

    The whole world has to deal with the mendacity of the Republicans

    The thing that drives me crazy about that mendacity is that it makes no sense even if one buys into their view of business uber alles. There is, in a capitalist society, a lot of money to be made in new energy production, retrofitting existing buildings and businesses, environmental clean-up, etc. The Rs could, if they weren’t such enormous flaming assholes, have a “conservative” (i.e., business-oriented) take on climate change and still be on the right side of history, the rest of the world, basic decency… But they won’t do it.

    • Philip

      Schwarzenegger of all people wrote basically that argument the other day.

      • Cassiodorus

        My understanding is that Schwarzenegger has always been pretty good on this issue.

    • Gregor Sansa

      But the party is not pro-business; it’s pro-rich-people. Currently rich people, not hypothetical future rich people. And some currently rich people are fossil people.

      • Lee Rudolph

        And some currently rich people are fossil people.

        They can’t be fossilized too soon for me.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Ok, it’s important to understand that “pro-business” is just another empty GOP slogan designed to persuade the gullible. The leaders are no more pro-business than they are pro-balanced budget, pro-life, pro-freedom, pro-smaller government, or pro-military. If what they are actually FOR happens to match a slogan, great, but it’s not a requirement.

      In this case, they are pro-fossil fuels, and not by accident. Ralph Reed sent out that infamous memo in the late 1990s saying that, in essence, the fundies are extremely gullible to believe anything he told them, and that he’d sell them anything for the right compensation. The fossil fuels industries jumped right on board.

      Do remember that in the 1960s the fundies were actually all what we now call pro-choice. The switch to pro-life happened as part of the post-Powell memo activities, was led by people like Jerry Falwell, and was designed to get all of the fundies to become active, enraged Republicans. It worked. That’s but one example of how gullible fundies will do 180 degree turns on political positions if their leadership tells them to.

      The same happened with fossil fuels. In the late 1990s it was okay to be a fundie and be worried about global warming. Or to pro-actively recycle. Or to buy a high mileage car. Or to contribute to an environmental group.

      No more. Now the fundies are told that all of these things are part of liberal/elite/hippie propoganda. There are actually a few isolated fundie groups that haven’t bought into the idea that global warming is a huge lie, but they are very few.

      THAT’s why the GOP is against clean energy.

      Now, in the past couple years the tide has turned on press coverage of climate change, and it has done so because there are now a number of billionaires, mostly of the silicon valley mold, who are active on this topic and fighting the fossil fuel billionaires.

    • Brett

      Their conspiracy-mongering paranoia about how climate change is secretly a plan to force Agenda 21, row houses, light rail, and low-flow toilets outweighs their greed, apparently.

      It’s pretty depressing, too, how the same arguments keep popping up only to get knocked down again. I still hear from tons of conservatives that “there’s been no warming since 1998” (now turning into “there’s been no warming in 20 years!”), and so forth.

      The one that scared me the most was how North Carolina’s legislature reacted to very real increasing sea level and flooding damage by . . . banning the use of anything but “historical data” in state-level flood planning. Because, of course, if we just pretend that coastal flooding won’t happen, then it won’t happen! Reminds me of the Brezhnev train joke.

    • helkamet

      it was in freshman economics that I was taught that one didn’t want to increase market share in an obsolescent industry.

    • The Pale Scot

      in a capitalist society, a lot of money to be made in new energy production

      Capitalism isn’t about making money (generating added value), it’s about concentrating portable wealth. To the major players in finance, it’s much preferable to write a 4 billion dollar bond issue for a nuke plant and skim 300 mil off the top in one swoop. It’s a lot more work to raise and distribute 4 billion over 1000’s of small operators and if they go bankrupt, they can’t pay it back. On the other hand, no matter what problems the nuke plant has, the utility’s customer base is on the hook. Even if they wiggle free, Goldman already got their 300 million.

      This is a larger problem than fossil corps holding on to the value of their unexploited reserves. Big Finance has no interest in decentralizing the system, it’s against their interests.

      Take note of the Duetchbank’s attempt to create a 400 million dollar fund to invest in renewable energy projects in the USA, after 3 years they gave up and sent the money to China, they couldn’t find partners willing to get involved in approving projects, there’s no big payday.

      I can’t seem to come up with a search phrase to find the related articles, sorry But here’s the general outline of Duetchbank’s programs.

      https://www.db.com/cr/en/concrete-alternative-Investments.htm

      https://www.db.com/cr/en/concrete-energy-and-climate-strategy.htm

      • joe from Lowell

        Why are people in finance your model capitalists, and not people who own factories?

        That is to say, why do you treat the predominance of finance right now as a more true expression of capitalism than the predominance of industrialists a century ago?

        Or, for that matter, the owners of solar panel manufacturing and distribution companies?

        • The Pale Scot

          I wasn’t thinking in terms of models. I have responsibilities in watching over the investments of older members of my family who fading so to speak (mostly “fuck you, stop trying to make a commission off of churning). IMHO the financial industry has become only vaguely related to generating added value.

          It starts with High Frequency Trading, the SEC stopped revealing the volume share of HFTs almost a decade ago, estimates are 50-80% of trader volume are executed by computers placed within yards of the exchanges to cut in front of others down the block. and runs to scams like GS buying warehouses so as to avoid strategic mineral anti-manipulation laws. they shuttle refined ores back and forth to avoid penalties for holding them back from the market.

          Wall Street works at doing things like creating derivatives for sub-prime auto loans, which apparently make up over a third of the auto loan market. Despite the 2007 melt down, there is still a market for securities backed by no money down mortgages.

          Go see the Big Short, financial “innovation” means very smart sociopaths fighting over the bait bag, the rest of us are the bait.

          • joe from Lowell

            Yes, definitely, “Wall Street” works like that. Agreed.

            It’s your first line, “Capitalism isn’t about making money (generating added value).”

            There’s still a lot of capitalism that is.

    • CP

      There is, in a capitalist society, a lot of money to be made in new energy production, retrofitting existing buildings and businesses, environmental clean-up, etc. The Rs could, if they weren’t such enormous flaming assholes, have a “conservative” (i.e., business-oriented) take on climate change and still be on the right side of history, the rest of the world, basic decency… But they won’t do it.

      Well, three things come to mind about this…

      One: for super-wealthy Republicans (thinking of the John Bircher types like the Koch brothers especially), I don’t think making money is the primary motivator. The primary motivator is proving that those obnoxious big-government socialists can’t push them around. Same basic principle as a child who’s just discovered the phrase “nuh uh! Can’t make me!” Ditto, in large part, their supporters. (Cleek’s law).

      Two: I’ve wondered similar things in the past about our right wing elites’ attitude to government spending, i.e, why are they so supportive of endless spending on military things but not stuff like infrastructure or public works or other projects that actually help people instead of killing them? Either means plenty of government money sent their way. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that on some level the answer is simply “because they’re assholes” – breaking things and killing people, at the most basic level, appeals to them more than fixing things and helping people. Hey, there’s an entire ideology built up around that, and I don’t think it’s just the rubes who believe it.

      Three: I wonder how much of this opposition is simply the fact that the very rich are used to not having to face the consequences of their actions (i.e. golden parachutes after fucking up a business), and expect that even if the liberals are right, global warming will work out the same way. Rising sea levels? No problem: we’ll move our mansions somewhere there’s a mountain. We can afford it. Food shortages? No problem. There may not be enough food left to feed all of humanity, but there’ll always be some food, and we’ll have the money to make sure as much of it as we need comes our way. We can afford it. Disruptive wars and revolutions? No problem: we can always pay half the poor to kill the other half. The entire debate about global warming is abstract to them, because even if the liberals are right about everything, they still don’t really expect that it’ll affect them.

      • Karen24

        After years of observation, I have concluded that the principle motivation for conservatives is ensuring that only a vanishingly tiny part of the population ever experiences pleasure. They hate sex, food, safety, clean water, natural and artistic beauty for anyone who isn’t the immediate descendant of a billionaire. (which makes them objectively worse than people like the Medicis who gave their cities beautiful works of art and music while they destroyed the government. At least the immigrated peasants could look at Michalangelos; our current crop won’t even do that.) Those of us not born to the purple should suffer, while being ignorant and uncultured. It is quite that simple.

        • Ahuitzotl

          whats the point of luxuriating if you cant contrast it to the utter misery of others?

  • joe from Lowell

    The whole world has to deal with the mendacity of the Republicans. Christ.

    The Qataris admit that fossil fuels cause climate change. The House of Saud admits is. The Kuwaitis, the Venezuelans, the Norwegians.

    But not the Republicans. “Hurr durr, did your model consider the sun? I betcha it didn’t consider the sun!”

    • Lee Rudolph

      “Hurr durr, did your model consider the sun? I betcha it didn’t consider the sun!”

      Freeman Dyson’s climate-change-skeptic op-ed in the Boston Globe last week, in which he brought that up, among a few other things, was really infuriating.

      • elm

        If we put a dyson sphere around the sun, the problems of global warming go away, so he’s not completely wrong, I guess.

      • Holy hell, Dyson has some concentrated stupid on this topic. For example:

        If you could give your own scientific recommendations for carbon dioxide policy at COP21 in Paris, what would they be?

        Certainly land management would be one. Particularly building up topsoil, which you can do in lots of ways. Not just growing trees, there are many things you can do which are just as good. Inducing snowfall is something you can do which hasn’t been discussed very much, to keep the oceans from rising. The rise of the oceans is a real problem and while they’re not rising as fast as people say, they’re still rising. That could be stopped if you could arrange that it snows a bit more in Antarctica. That’s something that could be quite feasible, but it’s not been looked at very much.

        JUST MAKE IT SNOW A BIT MORE IN ANTARCTICA!!! WHY DIDN’T ANYONE THINK OF THAT BEFORE!!!!

        It’s now difficult for scientists to have frank and honest input into public debates. Prof Brian Cox, who is the public face of physics in the UK thanks to the BBC, has said he has no obligation to listen to “deniers,” or to any other views other than the orthodoxy.

        That’s a problem, but still I find that I have things to say and people do listen to me, and people have no particular complaints.

        It’s very sad that in this country, political opinion parted [people’s views on climate change]. I’m 100 per cent Democrat myself, and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on this issue, and the Republicans took the right side.

        Oh geez.

        • joe from Lowell

          Changing weather patterns in Antarctica to a sufficient degree to overcome rising temperatures = could be quite feasible.

          Bending the curve on the already-existent transition from fossil fuels = what are you, crazy? That could never work.

          • I recant. I am all in favor of the “just make it snow a bit more” approach to problem solving. As I swelter in 70+degree weather in Swarthmore, if we’d just make it snow a bit more it would not only make me happier, but improve the economy a bit! (MOER SNOW SHOVELS!!)

            California drought? Just make it snow a bit more in the Sierra Nevada!

            Trump doing well in the polls? JUST ADD SNOW!!!

            Just think what this would mean for the skiing industry!

        • Brett

          Wow, he’s actually gotten worse. I remember one of his earlier writings on this was “Global warming isn’t a problem because we’ll just genetically engineer trees to soak up more CO2”. Which . . . probably isn’t impossible, although I doubt we’d be doing it before 2030 at the earliest.

          • Ahuitzotl

            Well you dont need to genetically engineer them, just plant more of the damn things, really.

    • AMK

      This really does hammer it home, how the theocratic gerontocracies of the Gulf–the 700 Clubs of the international community, where fossil fuels are existential and the idea of climate change cannot officially exist–these governments endorse the agreement.

      Now, because there is no way to enforce this agreement, I can’t imagine these countries are going to actually do anything. It may help them in the medium term, since some countries might now shelve plans for oil/gas development that would have further diversified supply and driven down price. Certainly it helps their image in Europe and blue America, so it’s a good piece of easy PR.

      We should try pitching the argument to conservatives that the single best way to win their “civilizational war” against the infidel Muslims is a post-fossil fuel economy. The House of Saud would not last six months without oil revenue.

  • joe from Lowell

    I only wish John Kerry had started running our foreign policy eight years sooner.

    • Lee Rudolph

      PUMA!

      • joe from Lowell

        8 years = 2004.

        Dubya, not Hillary.

        I wonder if there is any chance of him staying on after the election.

        • Murc

          The cabinet picks will be interesting if Hillary or Sanders wins. Maybe we can finally get a SecDef who isn’t either a Republican or an obvious caretaker!

          • BubbaDave

            From your lips to HillaBernie’s ears….

          • Roberta

            That would be a really interesting confirmation process, if Hillary or Sanders appointed someone like that.

            • Murc

              We haven’t had a SecDef who was a Democrat and not an obvious “placeholder” (Carter, like Panetta, was very clearly just keeping the seat warm) since William Perry. Clinton and Obama loved appointing them some Republicans to run the Pentagon, for reasons that baffle me.

              • joe from Lowell

                Since we’re ten months into Carter’s tenure, that seat must be pretty warm.

                If you make sure to define all the Democrats as placeholders, then we haven’t had a Democrat who wasn’t a placeholder for some time.

                • Murc

                  Well, here’s my view on things, Joe. It seems to me, and I recall this being conventional wisdom at the time, that both Panetta and Carter were appointed to fill out presidential terms; they weren’t intended to do more than keep the lights on handle administrative duties for a couple years until a political question (“Who will be President in a little under two years?”) could be settled, because the tail end of a presidential term isn’t when you want to start in on heavy policy retrenchment.

                  This is as opposed to Gates and Hagel, who were re-appointed and appointed respectively right after presidential elections with the understanding that they’d be required to do a great deal of policy design and implementation.

                  Now, this sort of thing isn’t dispositive. For example, I don’t think Gates initial appointment by Bush was intended as a placeholder role despite the fact he was appointed so late in Bush’s second term; he wasn’t just there to run the clock down, he was there to actually take an active role in crafting a post-Rummy DoD.

                  Appointing placeholder cabinet secretaries is something that happens. Even just limiting it to SecDef… Frank Carlucci. You can’t tell me he wasn’t a placeholder.

                  Now, I might just straight up be wrong about Panetta and Carter. But I resent the implication that I’ve been deliberately mendacious here, which your comment implies heavily. I am not “making sure” to define all Democrats as placeholders in order to buttress an argument I know is weak, I genuinely think the specific Democrats I’ve named were placeholders.

                • joe from Lowell

                  If Cater stayed in office until the end of Obama’s Presidential term, he would be in the position for 3-4 weeks short of three years. That’s not the tail end of a term; it’s almost all of it.

                  Perhaps the CW at the time of his appointment was that he would be in office for a little while until Obama could appoint a Republican, but I’d have a whole lot of trouble believing that in month 32.

                  Gates was brought on by Bush, and kept on by Obama, to effectively manage the wind-down of the Iraq occupation. He wasn’t an ideas/policy guy at all, but a steady hand on the tiller. If anything, he was Obama’s placeholder appointment.

                  I don’t think you’re being deliberately mendacious; I think you’re deeply committed to this “Democrats are afraid to appoint Democratic SecDefs” theory, and reading the evidence to conform to it.

                • Murc

                  If Cater stayed in office until the end of Obama’s Presidential term, he would be in the position for 3-4 weeks short of three years.

                  Um.

                  Carter was appointed last January. Obama leaves office in January 2017. Unless he’s re-upped, Carter will have been in there a shade under two years, not three.

                  It seemed clear to me Carter’s job was to hold the fort until after the 2016 election.

                • joe from Lowell

                  OK, just short of two years. And?

                  Here is a list of Secretaries of Defense.

                  William Perry (Democrat) served a year longer than Chuck Hagel. Panetta served three months less. Clinton had Democrats in the office longer than Republicans.

                  The numbers just don’t demonstrate anything like what you’re claiming. If you want to complain that Republicans have been appointed at all, go ahead. This notion that the Republican appointments somehow count and the Democratic appointments can be waived away with a putdown doesn’t reflect either the time in office, or the significance of their tenures.

                • Murc

                  The numbers just don’t demonstrate anything like what you’re claiming.

                  It’s a good thing I didn’t ever claim that the numbers by themselves were dispositive, them.

    • Steve LaBonne

      I truly think historians are going to rank him among our great diplomats. He was born for this job.

      • joe from Lowell

        John Winthrop was a major figure in Massachusetts history, but I think we’re going to need a new statue for Capitol.

      • joe from Lowell

        Want to have a good larf?

        Go into the archives of your favorite liberal blogs from 2013 and see what they had say about John Kerry.

    • Roberta

      I wonder if, if Hillary gets elected (*knock on wood*), she’ll keep him on? Kerry has some serious (mostly media-created, damn them) image problems that got in his way in 2004, but he’s been so impressive as Sec of State, and I don’t know who would be better.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Do you think the Senate would (re-)confirm him?

      • joe from Lowell

        I also wonder if he’d be willing to do it.

        That job seems like it grinds you down even more than being President. It’s like being President, with constant travel.

        Who could blame the guy if he said, “I did my hitch, I’m lying on a beach for the next three years?”

        • Marek

          You misspelled “windsurfing.”

        • Ahuitzotl

          Well he’s hardly being driven to work as SoS by the need to earn money, so I can easily seem him as dutybound to continue/relishing the sense of importance & status (pick your preferred character judgement).

  • Call me cynical, but does anyone think this’ll be worth the paper it’s printed on?

    • BubbaDave

      As long as we elect a Democratic President in 2016, yes I do.

      • Michael Cain

        And five votes on the SCOTUS to allow EPA and/or FERC rules to actually go into effect. EPSA v. FERC in the current term could quietly be a very big deal.

        • BubbaDave

          I truly believe that the plan is that if the Dems win the White House and retake the Senate in November, Obama will spend the rest of his term trolling the Republicans so hard that Scalia and/or Alito dies of an aneurysm.

          Meanwhile, I’m going to be subscribing Thomas, Kennedy and Roberts to my newly-created “Bacon cheeseburger of the month club.”

          • Karen24

            You would give those losers bacon cheeseburgers???11!!?? Why do something that nice? No, you want to send them all the Cheez Its and Cool Ranch Doritos or KFC Double Downs you can find, or whatever greasy grossness Real True Cardiovascular Patient He Men like to eat.

            • Marek

              Hey, Cheez-Its are made with real cheese, I’ll have you know.

              • Lee Rudolph

                But are the Its real Its?

  • CrunchyFrog

    There is a debate going on in the left blogosphere about this, and I think this time both sides are right.

    1) Yes, it is a major achievement, and advances the cause tremendously.

    *AND*

    2) It’s woefully inadequate given the state of the crisis.

    • joe from Lowell

      #2 makes as much sense here as it does when applied to the first aid provided by EMTs to someone found unresponsive in the street.

      Boo! What you guys are doing isn’t even close to sufficient!

      • Murc

        … except it isn’t being directed at the EMTs, if I’m going to extend your analogy. It’s being directed at the guys who are deeply reluctant to build the hospital the EMTs need to take that guy to in order to actually stop him from dying, which is a reasonable thing to criticize.

        • Lee Rudolph

          It’s being directed at the guys who are deeply reluctant to build have called in an AC-130 to destroy the hospital

        • joe from Lowell

          Nope, it’s being directed at the EMTs. It’s being directed at Obama, Kerry, and the rest of the people who negotiated the deal.

          It’s being directed at the guys who are deeply reluctant to build the hospital the EMTs need to take that guy to in order to actually stop him from dying

          Criticism of the Republicans, of the political figures who actually are standing in the way of taking strong action, like that in Erik’s OP, is reasonable. That’s not what CrunchyFrog’s comment was about. The “this” in his comment refers to criticism of the Paris deal.

          • Murc

            Nope, it’s being directed at the EMTs. It’s being directed at Obama, Kerry, and the rest of the people who negotiated the deal.

            … wait, they’re the EMTs in your analogy? I assumed the EMTs would have been the actual climate scientists and advocates who have been struggling to keep the patient (the planet is the patient, right?) alive while people dither over whether it requires hospital care.

            Criticism of the Republicans, of the political figures who actually are standing in the way of taking strong action, like that in Erik’s OP, is reasonable. That’s not what CrunchyFrog’s comment was about. His “this” refers to the Paris deal.

            Well, I mean… he’s right about that, though. The Paris deal is inadequate given the state of the crisis.

            I didn’t see his comment necessarily directing blame to Obama and Kerry, though. Criticism of the deal doesn’t necessarily imply criticism of the people who made it happen.

            Like, I have a shit-ton of problems with the ACA, which is utterly inadequate as a response to our nations healtchare needs, but my criticisms of it do not automatically read as criticisms of those who voted for it, do they?

            I’ve been reading criticism of the Paris deal mostly along the lines of “this is a pretty good deal, but it isn’t good enough, and it isn’t good enough because the people involved in making it are constrained by politics into how far they can actually go.”

            Which, you know, seems pretty accurate.

            • joe from Lowell

              they’re the EMTs in your analogy?

              Well, yeah. This climate deal – the first aid – wasn’t produced by climate scientists and activists, but by the diplomatic and political leaders who negotiated the deal. Climate scientists would be like the people who dialed 911 about a guy lying the street.

              Climate scientists and activists don’t actually produce policy (providing treatments to the patient). This deal isn’t a feat of research or consciousness-raising, but of diplomacy and policy.

              Well, I mean… he’s right about that, though. The Paris deal is inadequate given the state of the crisis.

              He is exactly as right as people who make the observation that first aid provided by EMTs doesn’t cure people of their illnesses. It’s a true statement; it’s also not terribly meaningful, or insightful, or important, because everyone, including the EMTs, know that further treatment is necessary.

              I didn’t see his comment necessarily directing blame to Obama and Kerry, though.

              Well, CF’s comment was basically reporting on what other people were saying. Plenty of others are criticism of the “EMTs” or their “first aid” is, as he says, all over the blogosphere.

              Like, I have a shit-ton of problems with the ACA, which is utterly inadequate as a response to our nations healtchare needs, but my criticisms of it do not automatically read as criticisms of those who voted for it, do they?

              If it was your response the day after the ACA passed, yes, it did read (and was no doubt intended) as criticism of Obama and the Democrats for passing the ACA. If what you had to say the day the President signed the Act into law was to denounce it as inadequate, yes, that’s what you are saying.

              If your subsequent commentary on issues of health care reform are phrased as denunciations of the ACA, as opposed to statements about what needs to happen with issues X, Y, and Z going forward, then yes, that is a denunciation of the ACA, and criticism of the people who passed it for doing a bad job.

              I’ve been reading criticism of the Paris deal mostly along the lines of “this is a pretty good deal, but it isn’t good enough, and it isn’t good enough because the people involved in making it are constrained by politics into how far they can actually go.”

              The problem with this is that “it” in “it isn’t good enough” is sufficiently ambiguous that it reads as a statement about the adequacy of the policy to address the problem, and a statement about the scale of the accomplishment in passing it. And, once again, conflating those two is about as sensible as complaining about the EMTs because their first aid doesn’t cure diseases.

              • joe from Lowell

                Climate scientists would also be like the people who designed the respirators and wrote the medical textbooks and convinced the City Council to hire EMTs. Reading this comment over, it appears that I’m minimizing their actions, and that’s not my intent.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  I’m glad you clarified that. James Hansen is one of the people at the forefront of Climate Science and warning the world of Global Warming, is also one of the biggest critics of this agreement.

                  Hansen may be right. The agreement may be – for all the success they had just in getting it arranged and signed in the first place – woefully inadequate. It may even be a placebo that makes people feel that “something has been done – issue solved” – when if fact the issue is getting worse.

                  And if he is right then I applaud him for being public with his criticism.

                • Ahuitzotl

                  When Metaphors go bad 3: now in 1D

    • sonamib

      I also have to disagree with your number 2. This is an amazing deal. I wasn’t expecting half of this. I mean, the plan is to keep the warming under +1.5C when the previous consensus was +2C. There are official timelines and review processes. There is substantial aid to poor countries. It’s an astonishingly good result. I’ve heard that the French and the Americans were the major players pushing for such a strong deal.

      Now, of course, all of this depends on every country translating this agreement into actual real-world policies. But that’s pretty much inevitable about any UN agreement. Despite what some conservatives say, the UN is far from being a world government, so there were strong limitations on what kind of deal could be made.

  • Karen24

    Off-topic, but because I mentioned it last week, I am happy to report that the hospital staff removed my father from the ventilator and took out the breathing tube, and he is breathing without assistance. This is huge, because it means that all we have to wait for now is seeing if he can swallow, and if he can’t, then the end will come in a much more peaceful and comfortable manner. (We have rejected a feeding tube.) If he can swallow, then his care will be that much simpler. Mom and I are still on the roller coaster, but on a flatter part of it now, thank God.

    • Yay! I hope the good progress continues!

      • Hogan

        Seconded, and I hope you all can get some sleep now.

        • Karen24

          I’ve made my mother swear on a Bible, and any other available Holy Book, that she will go home and sleep in a real bed this week. She takes that kind of thing seriously.

          I’ve also bought a bunch of recycled sari silk scarves to give to her friends in gratitude. My hometown is going to be very sparkly for New Year’s.

    • elm

      Good to hear. Hope things continue to go as smoothly as possible given the circumstances.

      • Karen24

        Thanks!

  • CSI

    This agreement is farcical. Because if gdp growth falters somewhere, and burning coal will revive it, then the coal will be burnt. All these agreements and good intentions will mean nothing.

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