Let’s face it, getting 196 countries to agree on saving a puppy would be nigh impossible. “Nobody was there to protect the Moscow water dog” declared the Russian negotiator “yet you expect our vote to save a newborn American bulldog?” The Americans pondered the comment overnight, calling Washington to ask if anyone had even heard of a Moscow water dog. “It’s extinct” explained an NSA canine agent “but maybe we could trade a cloned spaniel, they probably won’t even notice.”
National interests, corporate bullying, trade-offs are part of every international negotiation and in this geopolitical reality I see Paris as a success. It has re-ignited a process that had lost its political momentum. Bill McKibbon, co-founder of 350.org put it well: “This didn’t save the planet but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet.”
As far as I can see it has side-lined the climate sceptics to insignificance and provided every climate activist with a focused campaign direction based on the strengths and weaknesses of the agreement.
Less exciting has been the lack of in-depth media coverage in the English language press over the year and it was even quite difficult to find detailed information during the two weeks of the Paris climate negotiations. The media seemed to prefer to build up a fear of “terrorism” following the tragic Paris attacks and more recently the San Bernardino mass shooting. In the UK the news focused on a parliamentary vote to bomb Syria. We can't expect the 24 hour mogul dominated news cycle to perform any better in the years to come.
I know many friends of mine who have been fighting for specific elements of an agreement will be disappointed by the political compromise. For me it’s a turning point which allows for tightening the actions over the years. We must awaken the public to what is going to happen if stronger action is not taken. Somewhat frighteningly it might take further tragic events caused by climate change to fuel this awakening.
For now at least my frustration is relieved and I’m wearing a renewable sunny smile.