COP26 will fail unless the following systemic constraints are overcome: “the tyranny of consensus,” the demand of net zero and the outdated science and state control of IPCC

Share this post...

Submit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn


A precedent for overcoming the difficulties in achieving a decision by consensus occurred at COP 2 (Geneva), when the Geneva Ministerial Declaration (which endorsed the IPCC’s findings that human activities were changing the world’s climate) was “noted” rather than adopted by the COP. This step was taken because it was clear that a small number of key States objected to its content. At the final plenary meeting, the president proposed to “take note” of the Declaration, meaning that while states could make qualifications or object to the Declaration, they could not prevent its formal recognition by the COP. The Declaration, together with the objections raised by the States, was reproduced in the COP 2.

COP 2 took place in July 1996 in Geneva, Switzerland. Its ministerial declaration was noted (but not adopted) on 18 July 1996, and reflected a United States position statement presented by Timothy Wirth, former Under Secretary for Global Affairs for the United States Department of State at that meeting, which: Accepted the scientific findings on climate change proffered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its second assessment (1995); Rejected uniform "harmonized policies" in favor of flexibility; Called for "legally binding mid-term targets".
As a result of the continued operation of the consensus without the fall back of 75% for decision-making (in the absence of an agreement on the rules of procedure, including for decision-making), a minority including key OPEC members, blocked full endorsement by COP2 of the IPCC's Second Assessment Report. If only in 1996, COP 2 had not insisted on the quest for consensus to prevent the endorsement of the IPCC’s findings that human activities were changing the world’s climate then there would not have been, in 2010, the following absurd claim on a panel of oil company CEOs that the cause of climate change was still disputed (Globe 2010 meeting in Vancouver)  
I have attended three climate change COPs (Conference of Parties) as a reporter: COP15, COP16 and COP21. I have found that at COPs, as well as at other UN conferences, the pressure to agree to consensus undermines many bold proposals This pressure was obvious at COP15 in Copenhagen.

COP 15

Hope was placed in US President Barack Obama’s attendance. The chief negotiator for the Sudan, Lumumba Di-Aping of the African Caucus, even mused that, with one foot in the developing world and the other in the developed, Obama would grasp the urgency and the plight of developing states. All eyes were on him. At three in the morning, in a room that appeared to have been converted especially for the US announcement, Obama, poised beneath the US flag, finally addressed the Plenary, and declared: “We have a deal!” I was standing with the media — and the developing countries that were never consulted. It was a decision made behind closed doors.

The Obama "accord" was placed on the floor and there was immediate outrage because of lack of consultation and lack of substance. The negotiator from Tuvalu condemned the document and stated that he would never sell his country’s citizens for thirty pieces of silver.

Bolivia’s negotiator proclaimed his opposition to an agreement talks setting targets that limit warming to two degrees and exclaimed: “The leaders of the rich countries should come to Bolivia to see what global warming is already doing to our country. We have droughts, disappearing glaciers and water shortages. Imagine this scaled up three times. We cannot accept an agreement that condemns half of humanity.”

Next, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Egypt and others all vehemently criticized the so-called Copenhagen Accord. Then the chair of the African caucus exclaimed: "At a rise of 2 degrees, there would be a holocaust in Africa!” (I remember that Canada responded with derision.) The delegates had spent the whole conference struggling for consensus but now it was clear that Obama’s behind-closed-doors agreement would not arrive at consensus. At this point, the Danish Chair could have tested for a fall back of 75% majority rule.

There is a precedent that could have supported the fall back of 75% possibility under the UNFCCC Article 15 Amendments to the UNFCCC Convention:

1. Any Party may propose amendments to the Convention.
2. Amendments to the Convention shall be adopted at an ordinary session of the Conference of the Parties. The text of any proposed amendment to the Convention shall be communicated to the Parties by the secretariat at least six months before the meeting at which it is proposed for adoption. The secretariat shall also communicate proposed amendments to the signatories to the Convention and, for information, to the Depositary.
3. The Parties shall make every effort to reach agreement on any proposed amendment to the Convention by consensus. If all efforts at consensus have been exhausted, and no agreement reached, the amendment shall as a last resort be adopted by a three-fourths majority vote of the Parties present and voting at the meeting. The adopted amendment shall be communicated by the secretariat to the Depositary, who shall circulate it to all Parties for their acceptance.
4. For the purpose of this article, 'parties present and voting' means parties present and casting an affirmative or negative vote.]

Instead, the gavel fell, and the Take-note Copenhagen Accord was circulated; it included the two-degree limit with a note that in 2015, the call for the temperature not to rise above 1.5 degrees [the demand of the developing countries] could be reconsidered. I believe that it may be in UNFCCC, the fossil fuel developed states rely on the consensus process to avoid the fallback to 75% discrimination against the developing states that did not support it.

While the Copenhagen Accord is not legally binding, it was used to discrimination against the developing states that did not support it.

The April 11 Guardian reports that the European Union, France and the UK have joined the US effort to blackmail the world’s poorest countries into endorsing the rotten deal. John Vidal writes:

Climate aid threat to countries that refuse to back Copenhagen accord. Rich countries have threatened to cut vital aid to the developing nations if they do not back the deal agreed at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, it has emerged.

The pressure on poor countries to support the US, EU and UK-brokered Copenhagen accord came as 190 countries resumed UN climate talks in Bonn in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion.

“The pressure to back the west has been intense,” said a senior African diplomat. “It was done at a very high level and nothing was written down. It was made very clear by the EU, UK, France and the US that if they did not back them then they would suffer.”

According to other African climate diplomats, threats to cut aid were accompanied by promises of financial support for the countries that complied.
“There was definite strong-arming of countries. A lot were left in no doubt that there would be repercussions if they did not associate themselves with the accord,” said Saleemul Huq, of the International Institute for Environment and Development, in London.

Yesterday it emerged that the US is to cut climate aid to Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries who have refused to sign up to the accord. But the outgoing UN climate change chief, Yvo de Boer, said: “Bolivia is losing $2.5m in climate funds. That’s about what the presidential palace pays for toilet paper a year. Bullying is not an effective instrument.”

This treatment of developing countries is reminiscent of UNCED and has been best illustrated in the cartoon by Canadian Brian Gable.

GAble Rio COPThe UK could become a fantastic host, create an atmosphere [of unity and constructive discussion], or the UK could step on a banana skin and before you know it you have a midnight session in a COP where some procedural issue has become a major crisis. These are the kind of known unknowns that are always part of a COP scenario.” (Achim Steiner UNDP).

What procedural issue might he be anticipating: perhaps, the demand for “net zero”, procedure?

Perhaps the procedure of allowing for the domination OECD’s pet project: the goal to achieve “net zero” by 2050 to be essential message COP 26 ‘of COP26.

When is the global North going to stop ignoring the voice from the south? President Evo Morales was dissatisfied with the outcome of COP 15 and decided to organise a conference with leaders from the South, academics and civil society in Cochabamba. From the 2010 Cochabamba Conference – A Speech by Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria at the Opening Ceremony of the conference.

Nnimmo Bassey represented Friends of the Earth and Africa at the Conference. After his opening remarks he recited the following poem. I will not dance to your beat (a poem by Nnimmo Bassey):

I will not dance to your beat
I will not dance to your beat
If you call plantations forests
I will not sing with you
If you privatise my water
I will confront you with my fists
If climate change means death to me but business to you
I will expose your evil greed
If you don’t leave crude oil in the soil
Coal in the hole and tar sands in the land
I will confront and denounce you
If you insist on carbon offsetting and other do-nothing false solutions
I will make you see red
If you keep talking of REDD and push forest communities away from their land
I will drag you to the Climate Tribunal 
If you pile up ecological debt
& refuse to pay your climate debt
I will make you drink your own medicine 
If you endorse genetically modified crops
And throw dust into the skies to mask the sun
I will not dance to your beat
Unless we walk the sustainable path
And accept real solutions & respect Mother Earth
Unless you do
I will not &
We will not dance to your beat

- Cochabamba/Tiquipaya


From the 2010 peoples conference in Bolivia:

Excerpts from the Peoples Agreement World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

Building the People's World Movement for Mother Earth

President Evo Morales was dissatisfied with the outcome of COP 15 and decided to organise a conference with leaders from the South, academics and civil society. 

At the conference we worked on the following agreement that was adopted at the Plenary
April 24, 2010 in Announcement, News
World People’s Conference on Climate Change
and the Rights of Mother Earth
April 22nd, Cochabamba, Bolivia


Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.

If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of species would be in danger of disappearing. Large extensions of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would expand, and the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas would worsen. Many island states would disappear, and Africa would suffer an increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the production of food would diminish in the world, causing catastrophic impact on the survival of inhabitants from vast regions in the planet, and the number of people in the world suffering from hunger would increase dramatically, a figure that already exceeds 1.02 billion people. The corporations and governments of the so-called “developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to the rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system.

We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.

Peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth; The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.

Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.

Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.

Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings. We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:

·    harmony and balance among all and with all things;
·    complementarity, solidarity, and equality;
·    collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all;
·    people in harmony with nature;
·    recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own;
·    elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism;

The model we support is not a model of limitless and destructive development. All countries need to produce the goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their populations, but by no means can they continue to follow the path of development that has led the richest countries to have an ecological footprint five times bigger than what the planet is able to support. Currently, the regenerative capacity of the planet has already exceeded by more than 30 percent. If this pace of over-exploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030. In an interdependent system in which human beings are only one component, it is not possible to recognize rights only to the human part without provoking an imbalance in the system as a whole. To guarantee human rights and to restore harmony with nature, it is necessary to effectively recognize and apply the rights of Mother Earth. For this purpose, we propose the attached project for the Universal

Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth,  
Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth,
·    The right to live and to exist;
·    The right to be respected;
·    The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free of human alteration;
·    The right to maintain their identity and integrity as differentiated beings, self-regulated and interrelated;
·    The right to water as the source of life;
·    The right to clean air;
·    The right to comprehensive health;
·    The right to be free of contamination and pollution, free of toxic and radioactive waste;
·    The right to be free of alterations or modifications of its genetic structure in a manner that threatens its integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
·    The right to prompt and full restoration for violations to the rights acknowledged in this Declaration caused by human activities.

The Copenhagen Accord went forward to COP 16 in Cancun with the 2-degree limit

At COP 16, we raised the issue of militarism as a cause and consequence of climate change and the need to reallocate military expenses to assist the developing states and the issue of the US having pressured other states to exempt military expenses. I interviewed a member of the IPCC about his estimation of the contribution of militarism to GHG emissions; He estimated about 20%.

A COP21, prior to the opening plenary, there was a meeting of the developing countries who came to consensus about the temperature not rising about 1.5 degrees Celsius. At the plenary, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, urged delegates to negotiate with a global vision, not with vested state economic interests.

A global vision would have been the striving for consensus with a fallback of 75% especially. (A Proposal made several times at COPS by Papua New Guinea)

At COP 21 until the last version, Article 22; allowed for fallback of 75% if consensus had failed.

In a press conference of the Secretariate of UNFCCC, at “COP 21,” I suggested that to avoid descending to the lowest common denominator: Perhaps the principle of 22 could apply to each article. If there had been a fallback to 75% in over 75 percent of the states would have agreed to have bold legally binding mitigation commitments rather than “contributions” which gives the impression of being voluntary.


“The UK could become a fantastic host, create an atmosphere [of unity and constructive discussion], or the UK could step on a banana skin and before you know it you have a midnight session in a COP where some procedural issue has become a major crisis. These are the kind of known unknowns that are always part of a COP scenario.” (Achim Steiner UNDP).

What procedural issue might Steiner be anticipating? Perhaps it is the procedure of demanding the achieving of Net Zero.

When I attended COP 21, I was concerned about the implications of Net Zero, which had been was promoted by the OECD representing  developed states representing The OECD's 38 members are: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and Slovakia.

When I first heard the term net zero, I thought it sounded like business as usual with dubious offsets and was reminded of of Prime Minster Trudeau’s expansion of Kinder Morgan which he justified by claiming the funds arising from the expansion would be used to fund green projects. I soon realized it was even worse than that because not only did Prime Minster Trudeau justified the expansion of the Kinder Morgan by claiming that the funds gained by the expansion would be used for funding green projects, but also the expanding of kinder Morgan would jeopardize future ecological projects. I began referring to his 2018 purchase as Prime Minster Trudeau.Inc and pointed out that an expansion of Kinder Morgan would undermine numerous proposals related to coastal and marine conservation of the Salish sea; there are areas of terrestrial and coastal/marine ecosystems; sound ecological practices could reinforce scientific research, monitoring, training and education.

Another project that could be jeopardized is to declare the Salish Sea, as Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA under the International Maritime Organization (IMO

6.2 Consideration should also be given to the potential for the area to be listed on the World Heritage List, declared a Biosphere Reserve, or included on a list of areas of international, regional, or national importance.

The above is an example of destroying ecology to accommodate fossil fuel expansion so as to raise money to purchase green energy. An absurd proposal in search of derogatory designation other than “Net Zero”
What Prime Minster did is reminiscent of the long-time OECD Corporate approach to the environment:
The corporate approach to the environment was revealed early in 1971 prior to the Stockholm United Nations Conference on Humans and the Environment (UNCHE).  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), representing the most developed nations,
expressed concern not about damage to the environment but about the economic implications of new environmental regulations.

OECD claimed: “Part of this approach is a strong public relations program dedicated to persuading government and citizens of their concern for the environment. Their newly expressed concern is reflected in the advocating of a shift in response to the corporate sector from no longer being the enemy but to being a “partner” in this monumental task of redressing the ills of the past.
The partnership role has been reinforced by some “environmentalists, such as the Pembina Institute” who are willing to work with industry on dubious offsets such as "Net Zero". the current leader of the Green Party of Canada, Annamie Paul supports Net zero International

Energy Agency (IEA) set up by the OECD

The IEA, which has its headquarters in Paris, was set up as an autonomous agency in 1974 by member countries of the OECD in response to the mid-1970s oil crisis. Remarks by Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD
Paris, 21 April 2021

Dear Laurence, Nick, Excellencies, Friends,

Back in 2013, we launched these biennial lectures to bring attention to the urgency to act on climate change. During past lectures, I stressed the need to move to net zero emissions, Canada’s Net Zero Collusion, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The oil/tar Sands were elated!

The Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative is an industry driven, made-in-Alberta solution which will strengthen our position as global ESG leaders," said Sonya Savage, Alberta's Minister of energy.

CALGARY, AB, June 9, 2021 /CNW/ - Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Imperial, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy formally announced today the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative. These companies operate approximately 90% of Canada's oil sands production. The goal of this unique alliance, working collectively with the federal and Alberta governments, is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands operations by 2050 to help Canada meet its climate goals, including its Paris Agreement commitments and 2050 net zero aspirations.3. OUT DATED SCIENCE DATA OR ISSUE OF STATE CONTROL OVER THE IPCC

The UK could become a fantastic host, create an atmosphere [of unity and constructive discussion], or the UK could step on a banana skin and before you know it you have a midnight session in a COP where some procedural issue has become a major crisis. These are the kind of known unknowns that are always part of a COP scenario.” (Achim Steiner UNDP).Perhaps he was anticipating the issue related to the procedures where states might negotiate with out-dated scientific data, without any access to relevant scientific data or that states have to approve the IPCC report before it is released.

In COP 15, while the negotiators were negotiating with outdated science from the 2007 IPCC report based on data from 2004 and 2005 at the press briefings, there was a Report from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) that revealed there was more rapid global warming, more drought, and more frequent and severe climate related incidents, and the glaciers are melting faster than predicted in 2007 IPCC report. At another press conference, a representative of the UN High Commission on Refugees decried that the world already had millions more refugees than expected, because of climate change. And at an IPCC press conference, a scientist from the IPCC, [but not speaking on behalf of the IPCC], warned that at a 2-degree rise in temperature, the poor, the disenfranchised and the vulnerable would not survive, at a 1.5-degree rise, they might.

Unfortunately, as I previously mentioned at COP16, the 2 degrees rise limit was carried forward to COP16.


At COP 16, in Spanish, the chair, Christine Figueres called for the delegates to negotiate with el espiritu de compromiso a “spirit of compromise”
I think the word ’compromiso” in Spanish is ambiguous it can mean “commitment” or a “compromise” depending on the context, in the context of Espiritu de compromiso, however, it appears to mean in English” the spirit of compromise”.

The spirit of compromise should not be used to call upon states to compromise-to sacrifice a principle which violates a peremptory norm, a global vision, an objective of common security, a principle of the UN Charter or a long-standing respect for scientific theory.  Especially, article 2 of the UNFCCC.

Has science become what the United States would agree to?

At COP16, in Cancun, the plea for the spirit of compromise was reiterated often by the Christiana Figueres. When I spoke, however, to Dr. Molina, who had just stated in the plenary that at COP 15 the majority of states supported the limit of rise of temperature of 2 degrees, I began to think that “compromise” meant sacrificing of principles. I spoke to him as he walked away from the podium and I pointed out to him that at COP15 the majority- the developing countries- were demanding a rise of temperature to be no greater than 1.5 degrees and some progressive developing states lobbied for no more than a 1-degree rise.

He responded that the US would never agree to less than 2 degrees. I countered, “is that what science has become what the US would agree to? After our conversation, I was reminded that one of the major systemic constraints was before a statement by the IPPC Is released, it must be approved by the member states.

At COP21, I was so impressed with the scientific papers presented at the press conferences and was wondering if the government negotiators were aware of the powerful emerging science.

At COP25, Canadian Dr Peter Carter a reviewer for IPCC went further than “wondering” and asked the COP Secretariat if he could see the scientific papers that had been made available to the negotiators. He was interviewed about what had been made available, at COP 25: 'Climate scientist’s concept of net zero is a dangerous trap'
April 22, 2021 12.25am EDT

1.    James Dyke, Senior Lecturer in Global Systems, University of Exeter
2.    Robert Watson, Emeritus Professor in Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
3.    Wolfgang Knorr, Senior Research Scientist, Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University

Disclosure statement:
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Partners: Lund University and University of East Anglia provide funding as members of The Conversation UK.
Climate scientists: concept of net zero is a dangerous trap
April 22, 2021 12.25am EDT

They wrote: Sometimes realisation comes in a blinding flash. Blurred outlines snap into shape and suddenly it all makes sense. Underneath such revelations is typically a much slower-dawning process. Doubts at the back of the mind grow. The sense of confusion that things cannot be made to fit together increases until something clicks. Or perhaps snaps.

Collectively we three authors of this article must have spent more than 80 years thinking about climate change. Why has it taken us so long to speak out about the obvious dangers of the concept of net zero? In our defence, the premise of net zero is deceptively simple – and we admit that it deceived us.

The threats of climate change are the direct result of there being too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So, it follows that we must stop emitting more and even remove some of it. This idea is central to the world’s current plan to avoid catastrophe. In fact, there are many suggestions as to how to actually do this, from mass tree planting, to high tech direct air capture devices that suck out carbon dioxide from the air.

IPCC report appears to support Net Zero

In August 2021 the IPCC Report was released and it contains the following statement:

D. Limiting Future Climate Change Since AR5, estimates of remaining carbon budgets have been improved by a new methodology first presented in SR1.5, updated evidence, and the integration of results from multiple lines of evidence. A comprehensive range of possible future air pollution controls in scenarios is used to consistently assess the effects of various assumptions on projections of climate and air pollution. A novel development is the ability to ascertain when climate responses to emissions reductions would become discernible above natural climate variability, including internal variability and responses to natural drivers.

D.1 From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions.


COP 26 should revoke net zero, embrace system change and avert the systemic constraints contributing to climate change and acknowledges the role of capitalism, respect the voice of the developing countries which have suffered the consequences of  climate change, for which they are  only marginally responsible, end the practice of giving exemptions to green house gas emitters like the military, ensure when after failing to achieve  consensus, the chair will initiate a fallback of 75% [vote preferably after each article], support seeking an advice from the International Court of Justice about  whether states’ fail to abide by article 2 and to conserve carbon sinks as per the UNFCCC and avoids other systemic constraints of COP 15 and 16  and 21 and those identified in Dr Peter Carter’s interview at COP25
and those demanded by the following groups.

Over 700 Groups Demand 'Real Climate Solutions, Not Net-Zero Promises'

"The only way to avoid climate catastrophe is to undertake… deep, systemic, and just transformations of our energy, food, transport, and industrial systems."

November 1, 2021



Share this post...

Submit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn