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Ukraine Proposes Giving the UN Climate Octopus More Tentacles

November 22, 2017

Major changes in UN structure take a long time but they have to start somewhere

Major changes in UN structure take a long time but they have to start somewhere. At last week’s UN climate summit the Ukraine floated a truly radical proposal. It amounts to making parties other than countries official members of the climate club.

The parties in question include corporations and political entities like US states and cities, perhaps even NGOs like Greenpeace. The goal is the get as many heavyweights onto the official green team as possible, the better to push for global green domination.

How this would work in detail is unclear and it may well be impossible, but the basic concept outlined by the Ukraine is very simple. Let me put this slightly technically and oversimplified.

The overall UN climate club is the Conference of Parties (COP) to the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a big treaty ratified by about 200 countries, including the US. The governments of these countries are the parties and their annual summits are meetings of the COP, last week’s being COP 23.

The Paris Agreement is basically an amendment to the UNFCCC. Those national governments that sign on to it form the Meeting of the Parties, or the MOP. The acronym COP MOP is a bit silly, so it is instead called the CMA, a session of which was also in Bonn last week. CMA stands for “Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.” The UN is nothing if not long winded.

Ukraine’s proposal is to add what is called a “subsidiary body” to the CMA. This is not terribly unusual, as the COP itself has two permanent subsidiary bodies. Their role is to advise the COP on specific matters, one on science and technology, and the other on implementation of the UNFCCC. There are also a number of temporary subsidiary bodies.

Ukraine proposes that this new CMA permanent subsidiary body be called the “Committee for Future,” which sounds like a bad translation of something, as it is strange in English.

What is truly radical about the Ukraine proposal is that the members of the Committee for Future would not be country parties to the COP, or their representatives, as has been the case until now. Somehow or other this subsidiary body would represent what the UN calls “subnational” entities such as political units, corporations, NGOs, etc. This aspect of the proposal is basically undefined.

This proposal seems like a natural outgrowth from the “we are still in” movement in the US, in reaction to the Trump Paris Agreement withdrawal announcement. We are still in includes States, cities and big corporations. It also includes colleges and churches.

In fact Article 6, Paragraph 8 of the Paris Agreement specifically refers to enhancing public and private sector participation. The two huge questions are who would actually be in this subsidiary body and how would they be chosen? If every green leaning political entity, advocacy group and business in the world jumped on there would be millions of members. And many would probably like to, because being green is a big public relations fad these days.

Given that the UN climate program is all about getting money for developing countries, maybe they could charge a Committee for Future entry fee of a few million dollars, or some such gimmick. But sarcasm aside, this subnational subsidiary body gambit is a trick worth watching out for and defending against. It is just a way to mobilize more UN green advocacy.

Press reports say that the US delegation supports this idea. Given that they are all Obama people of course they do. It is time to get a true Trump delegation in there to stop this sort of nonsense.

[Originally Published at CFACT]

Author
David Wojick is a former consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science. He has a Ph.D.
dwojick@climatechangedebate.org