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#COP21: Is This A Cop Out?



As French philosopher Voltaire said: “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien,” the perfect (or better) is the enemy of the good. With so many countries and deeply conflicting priorities, it is a miracle that any agreement has been arrived at. As we wait for the landmark climate deal’s acceptance, we will have to accept that it won’t please all of the people, but it’s a significant step in the right direction.

Sadly, the people it will please the least are those who will suffer the most from the adverse effects of climate change – vulnerable nations and the poor.

But something was done. International diplomacy can so easily descend into a circumlocution office i.e. how not to do something. Especially for multi-lateral, global diplomacy on this scale.

Our headline deliberately conforms to Betteridge’s law of headlines: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

No it’s not a cop out – taking the easy way out of a sticky situation. The deal is far from perfect, but it’s still good, with some stretching targets for countries.

Mr Hollande told countries: “”The decisive agreement for the planet is here and now. France calls upon you to adopt the first universal agreement on climate.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on world diplomats to “finish the job”. “We must protect the planet that sustains us,” he said. “We need all our hands on deck.”


Now the real work begins… to go much further, much faster.