If you want to know what how a rational optimist defines success for COP21, take a look at Rob Stavins’s latest post. Here’s his “Paris Scorecard” for what success will look like:
- Include approximately 90% of global emissions in the set of INDCs that are submitted and part of the Paris Agreement (compared with 14% in the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol). This will definitely be achieved.
- Establish credible reporting and transparency requirements. It is likely that this will be achieved.
- Begin to set up a system to finance climate adaptation (and mitigation) — the famous $100 billion commitment. This is likely to be achieved.
- Agree to return to negotiations periodically, to revisit the ambition and structure of the INDCs. It is likely this will be achieved.
- Put aside unproductive disagreements, such as on so-called “loss and damage,” which looks to rich countries like unlimited liability for bad weather events in developing countries. Another unproductive disagreement is the insistence by some parties that the INDCs themselves be binding under international law. This would probably mean that the Paris Agreement would require Senate ratification in the United States, which means that the United States would not be a party to the Agreement.
I agree with Rob’s assessment. Hope springs eternal.