This is how the Paris climate agreement was forged

This is how the Paris climate agreement was forged

By Caty Arévalo

The first to decide to undertake the risky feat of trying to bring together nearly two hundred nations with conflicting interests after the devastating failure of the Copenhagen climate summit (2009) was the French president, François Hollande, who wisely chose the two people to lead this feat.

Faced with the custom of appointing the minister of the sector as COP president, Hollande opts for his foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, known for his cold blood, to lead the Paris summit, supported by Laurence Tubiana, a diplomat involved in the Climate negotiations since Kyoto (1997).

Tubiana, despite her small and fragile appearance, is a strong woman with a deep understanding of the complex actors involved in climate diplomacy and their sensibilities, highly valued and respected by them for her ability to listen.

"Even with the effort and conviction of France, the agreement would not have been possible without the impetus received by global leaders such as those of the United States, China, India or Germany, who realized that fighting against warming is not a sectoral issue and environmental, but cross-cutting, affecting all policies. "

Each had his reasons: Barack Obama came to the White House committing to combat "the greatest threat that weighs on future generations" and did not want to leave it without a pact; and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is well aware that he needs the financial support to provide renewable energy to 20% of his population without access to electricity.

Nor should we forget the secretary of the UN climate change convention, Christiana Figueres, who took office six months after the failure of Copenhagen seriously questioned the ability of the United Nations as a framework for understanding countries. in this matter.

Figueres and his team

To forcefully convey the message that it was “the moment” for the agreement, the Costa Rican has surrounded herself, in the shadows, with a team of 10 influential personalities from around the world, among them the former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón, or the former secretary Spanish State of Climate Change, Teresa Ribera, today part of the French delegation and key in the negotiations with Latin America.

When the crunch comes and the Paris meeting starts, France shows that it has learned outstandingly from the mistakes of Copenhagen, and conducts the negotiations with unprecedented transparency.

The first week he lets the negotiators do, and in the high-level segment, Fabius invents a body called the Paris Committee made up of 14 ministers to facilitate and lead the negotiations.

The ministers were not appointed at random, but chosen with cunning among the countries that offered the most resistance in some points, such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Bolivia or Brazil.

With this master move, he neutralizes the main agents of discord and makes the responsibility of resolving disagreements weigh his shoulders.

Last Thursday, when the time for the agreement was approaching and the countries staged their toughest positions, Fabius wisely decided to set Friday as a day of reflection, receive everyone in his office and postpone the agreement to Saturday.

At 11.30 (10.20 GMT) on Saturday, a brand new Fabius enters the plenary to present the agreement amid the ovation of those present, which showed that the countries had seen the final consensus text that France finished drafting at the 06.30 (05.30 GMT) and that they accepted it.

France gives six hours for the document to be translated into the official languages ​​of the UN and reviewed by the jurists and convenes a plenary session for its approval at 17:30 (16:30 GMT).

Last moments

Fabius sits on time to preside over it but Tubiana approaches to lift it and the plenary, from boat to boat, remains stopped and on edge for two hours that could truncate the agreement.

The United States had warned that the English version of the text contained a translation error with respect to what was agreed, and that where it said that developed nations “must” continue to lead the efforts to reduce emissions, there should have been a conditional: “should” .

Nicaragua - one of only nine countries that have not presented national contribution targets in the fight against climate change - indicated that it refused to accept the change and that it planned to block the agreement.

The obstruction of Nicaragua would have ruined the pact, which must be approved by consensus, if it were not for the fact that the rest of the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, ALBA, (Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia or Cuba) let it alone.

Efe has learned that both the president of the United States, Obama, and that of Cuba, Raúl Castro, called the Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, to ask him not to prevent the agreement.

Upon being cornered, Nicaragua decides to abandon the blockade and, two hours later than planned, Fabius takes possession of the stage to give a quick hammer blow and merge into a strong three-way hug with Tubiana and Figueres, while the majority of those present cried with emotion.


Video: 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement - Conversation (July 2021).