The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

Abstract

At the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change held in Paris, France, 30 November to 11 December 2015, an
Agreement was reached by the international community including 195 countries. The
Agreement has been hailed, by participants and the media, as a major turning point for policy
in the struggle to address human induced climate change. The following is a short critical
commentary in which I briefly explain why the Paris Agreement changes nothing. I highlight
how the Agreement has been reached by removing almost all substantive issues concerning
the causes of human induced climate change and offers no firm plans of action. Instead of
substantive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, as soon as possible, the intentions of the parties
promise escalation of damages and treat worst case scenarios as an acceptable 50:50 chance.
The Paris Agreement signifies commitment to sustained industrial growth, risk management
over disaster prevention, and future inventions and technology as saviour. The primary
commitment of the international community is to maintain the current social and economic
system. The result is denial that tackling greenhouse gas emissions is incompatible with
sustained economic growth. The reality is that Nation States and international corporations
are engaged in an unremitting and ongoing expansion of fossil fuel energy exploration,
extraction and combustion, and the construction of related infrastructure for production and
consumption. The targets and promises of the Paris Agreement bear no relationship to
biophysical or social and economic reality. (author's abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2016

Publication series

NameSRE - Discussion Papers
No.2016/01

WU Working Paper Series

  • SRE - Discussion Papers

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