A politically binding climate change agreement is great... if you're a politician

The biggest news coming out of the Barcelona climate talks being held this week is the re-framing of a successful climate change treaty as being one that is “politically binding” as opposed to “legally binding.”

With all the long hours I’ve been putting into to covering these climate talks, I’m sure my wife is wishing our marriage was a politically binding agreement, as opposed to a legal one.

This double-speak-aganza started earlier this week with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen telling Reuters that, “it is a challenge for every single industrialised country in the world to deal with the climate change issue and that’s why we are working very strongly to reach a politically binding agreement in Copenhagen…”

President Rasmussen said he was optimistic that a politically binding deal could be reached in Copenhagen. No kidding he’s optimistic. Who wouldn’t sign on the dotted line to an agreement that has absolutely no ramifications if the terms are not met?

Politicians invented the art of making promises they can’t keep and now we’re expected to bank on their promise to deal with the most pressing environmental challenge the world has ever seen. Call me cynical, but I think I’ll be stocking up on sand bags and sunscreen tomorrow.

The spin continued with, of all people, the head of United Nation’s climate treaty process, Yvo de Boer, saying, “”It is absolutely clear that Copenhagen must deliver a strong political agreement and nail down the essentials.”

Then UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon echoed de Boer. saying “several key countries were not ready to sign up to binding targets and that the best the world could hope for from the summit would be ‘political commitments.’”

All this “politically binding” talk is great if you’re a government official who is looking for a way to pretend that the last two years of climate treaty talks have amounted to something more than an impressive sounding document that has no teeth.

“Politically binding” is even better if you’re a politician looking for a way to appear like you’re committed to resolving the issue of climate change, without having to actually commit to doing anything you cannot weasel your way out of later. Watch more countries jump on this do-nothing train in short order.

Maybe while they’re at it they could change highway speed laws from legally to politically binding. It would save me a ton in speeding tickets.


Here’s the situation as I understand it.

1) impending climate disaster
2) drastic measures needed and now or never
3) 200 nations supposedly about to cast aside all differences and agree to change everything for the greater good - led by career politicians with deep voices and big smiles who all got where they are by making phony promises and collecting big cheques from big business for big favors.

If the climate is broken, fixing it is beyond this bunch.

…. oh, and I protest the minus rating I got here.

It will become drastic id climate is broken. Even we cant have trees and then we have to find different ways to cook

A political agreement is about the best that can occur now, after a rough draft of the agreement was leaked. No one in Canada or the US is inclined to sign an internationally binding agreement that literaly creates another layer of government. This is about as much a non starter as putting a tax on hockey playoff games.

The science seems to be losing a toehold amongst the population of the world as well. With no prevelant warming and no definative proof the public can’t take much more of the scare factor.

On top of all that, perhaps the brightest mind to speak on this topic, Lord Monckton has begun a cross continental tour debunking global warming. Since Lord Monckton was first on the global warming scene as the science advisor to margaret thatcher which creted the IPCC Monckton just oozes credibility. He knows the science inside and out, He knows the politics and he knows the truth. Global warming watchout, here comes Lord Monckton.

Tough to guess how this will play out.

You’re kidding, right? Do a bit of research into what role he actually played in the Thatcher administration. He was a minor little blip, and had nothing to do with advising Maggie about science. What Monckton oozes is not credibility – it’s absurdity. He belongs in Monty Python’s Upperclass Twit of the Year competition.

I really think you are doing Ralph a disservice by using his name.


It’s tough even for a Believer to discredit the intelligence of the good Lord Monckton, the guy invented the eternity puzzle which is about 1000 times more complex than a rubics cube. Monckton is a genius!

As far as credibility the guy is impecably honest, he actually sold his home to repay a debt, you know a guy like Al Gore would have just walked away from his responsibilities. As well, he was origionally a GW believer and turned away by the lack of scientific evidence. He’s not in the pocket of “Big Oil” or “Big Government” as he has enough money to get by on his own.

Wether your one of the faith or a denier you have to admit Mockton has oodles of credibility on the topic matter.

Tough to see how it will play out but it is obvious why Al gore will not debate him. It would be the classic case of a monkey challenging Bobby Fischer to a gae of Chess. No offence to Al Gore he’s a bright guy, he’s just not even close to Lord Monckton.