The Ecologist: Paris Massacre May Scupper Climate Talks

le bataclan

Despite the 129 dead and the hundreds more wounded, The Ecologist has cut through all the emotive nonsense about the Paris massacres and identified the real victim of this grisly affair: why, the forthcoming UN climate change conference, of course!

Some would argue that with France in a state of emergency, Paris terrorized, and with many of the bodies so hideously mutilated they haven’t yet been identified, that perhaps it’s a bit too early to make extremely tenuous links between an act of Islamist terrorism and global warming.

But The Ecologist’s Oliver Tickell – son of Margaret Thatcher’s former climate adviser Sir Crispin Tickell – has no such qualms.

He asks:

Is it a coincidence that the terrorist outrage in Paris was committed weeks before COP21, the biggest climate conference since 2009?

Yes, probably it is a coincidence, he goes on to concede. Even so the ISIS attack has made the failure of COP21 significantly more likely:

Yes, negotiators will still be arguing over square brackets in texts as they always do. But the potential of important ‘big picture’ climate deals cemented between presidents and prime ministers now look less likely than before – for the simple reason that world leaders are likely to take the opportunity of COP21 to talk about more immediately pressing security matters.

So with world leaders distracted from questions of climate, the prospects of serious inter-governmental agreement on the key issues at stake in the talks – from climate finance to the legal status of any agreement reached – have just receded.

You mean, Oliver, that because of the events in Paris world leaders are now less likely to be thinking about the vainglorious quest to adjust global mean temperatures by a fraction of a degree by the end of the century and more concerned with more real and present threats like the imminent threat that their citizens will be massacred by deranged fanatics from a pan-global Islamist death cult?

Say it ain’t so.

But Tickell isn’t done yet. His parting insight is to bracket oil producers in the same category as ISIS.

So, assuming – as seems probable at this stage – that the Paris outrage was carried out by or for ISIS, was it in any way motivated by a desire to scupper a strong climate agreement at COP21? And so maintain high demand for oil long into the future, together with a high oil price?

Let’s just say that it could have been a factor, one of several, in the choice of target and of their timing. And of course ISIS was not necessarily acting entirely on its own. While not alleging direct collusion between ISIS and other oil producing nations and companies, it’s not hard to see a coincidence of interests.

I love that use of the phrase “not alleging direct collusion”. Presumably, then, he’s not averse to alleging indirect collusion.

As for all those shale oil producers in Texas, rig workers in the North Sea, and operators on the tar sands in Canada: I bet up until now they had just no idea how closely their interests were aligned with those of the world’s most dangerous terror group.

But then, let’s not forget that Oliver’s dad was The Man Who Invented Global Warming. Clearly the acorn hasn’t fallen too far from the tree.


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