The governmental negotiations may not have delivered anything close to what was needed to avoid massive hunger, dislocation, state failure, migration and even conflict, but, hey, it was better than expected.
Besides, the French really nailed it with the final document adopted by 1000 mayors from around the world. Their pledges, and the credibility of their commitments, made the government negotiations look pale in comparison.
An then there was the register of pledges. Look at the total of emission reductions pledged, which they keep revising as new commitments come in. The world had the opportunity, and used it, to send a vote of no confidence to their governmental leaders.
What gives me hope for the future are two things:
- One is the review mechanism, the "ratchet", that can only know one direction: more ambitious policies in the future, especially as existing technologies get cheaper, new ones emerge, and the urgency of global overheating and rising acidity of the oceans become ever more obvious.
- The other is the recognition by anyone with economic sense that 2015 was the Global Parity Point for renewable energies, the year when they became cheaper, for new investment, than fossil or nuclear energy.
The shortcomings of the governmental negotiations in Paris no longer matter. Retrograde politicians and climate diplomats, in the pocket of the incumbent industries, can only slow that process down but not stop it.