Long after most of the heads of state left town, and even after B list actors like Jay Inslee flew home, the negotiators left in Paris trying to complete a United Nations global warming agreement are coming to a predictable reality – nations disagree on how to cut emissions and who pays for reduced economic growth.
No less than the NY Times let that cat out of the bag in a pair of stories, one about the nuts and bolts holding up a substantive agreement (China and India sort of like economic growth) and another about how hard Secretary of State John Kerry is trying desperately to push through any kind of deal to shore up his climate warrior legacy.
As the Times pointed out, “if a deal falls apart, or is viewed as weak and toothless — a significant possibility in the next few days — then that failure will be part of Mr. Kerry’s legacy as he prepares to leave public office after years of work on the issue.
“Mr. Kerry will remain through the week to the bitter end…
“But in the homestretch of negotiating it is unclear how tough the deal will be.
“A draft that emerged Wednesday lacked any clear provisions requiring governments to monitor and verify their emissions cuts. India and China in particular have been opposed to such provisions, but absent them the deal could be little more than a gesture of good will.”
So while Jay Inslee is returning to reality in Washington State, he will always have Paris. Before he came back, he waxed poetic to reporters that “‘I don’t want to be too carried away by this moment… This has been an inspirational group that I’ve been talking to the last few days in Paris.'”
But evidently inspiration may be the only take-away of substance from the talks. According to someone more involved than Inslee in the negotiations, “ ‘We’re going to get a deal,’ said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainability, a research organization. ‘It’ll be good enough to drink the champagne. And the next day we’ll wake up with hangovers and realize we have a lot more work to do.’ ”