The COP21 agreement is filled with all sorts of legalese that may be difficult for the average person to understand. A great deal of press has been published about a few phrases in the agreement, like a nod to 1.5°C being better than 2°C, but without a human, readable, translation it’s difficult to put this discussion in context.
As chairman of my company I often have to both read and write similarly worded agreements, MoU’s, letters of intent, going through fine print of service and insurance contracts of various sorts, etc. As such, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the COP21 agreement into layman’s terms to allow greater access to it.
Dear Santa Claus (of 2025),
We, the leaders of the world, have been behaving really, really well this year, and we’re really excited about Christmas. Some of us don’t believe in Christmas but for the most part we believe in the gift of greater exports during this time of year.
We think we have done a pretty good job at organizing this year’s COP with a big focus on congratulating each other, though maybe in some of our other meetings we have to work a bit more on being more jolly to each other! Your big hearty laugh, Ho ho ho!!!, is a big inspiration to us. Lol.
We’ve invented a new game that maybe your Elves could be interested in, it’s called good COP bad COP. Last conference was “bad” and this conference was “good”, really the idea came to us at Kyoto but we’ve only recently gotten good at this game. We especially think the children of the world could be amused by this game and we hope it brings them lots of cheer this Christmas.
But we digress, down to business.
We’ve made a lot of wishes, 32 pages of wishes, and since we know you’re busy this time of year and may not have time to read through everything, especially since, along with being really, really good, we are really patient people and are satisfied with seeing our wishes come true in 2025 … or even later if your elves have trouble making all the fantastic new mechanisms we desire.
So, we hope this cover letter can get the gist of our Christmas wish list across so that you allocate the appropriate elven power and resources (but not too much!!! we wouldn’t want get in the way of anyone else’s wish to get all the stuff they want too, especially at Christmas! We’re just that thoughtful and kind to everyone). We’re sure you can delegate all the difficult parts of making our wishes happen to your corporate lawyer elves.
As you may have noticed zipping around the world, and especially in the North Pole where you live, the ice is melting, the climate is indeed changing. Our first wish is:
Wish #1 We wish for this climate change problem to go away.
Of course we know we’re asking for a lot here, but this is really something we all agreed on during COP21. What has not been so easy to agree on is exactly what to do, so now we are really turning to you, Dear Santa, wishing for a solution without all these overly prohibitive costs associated with building a better world.
Your elven scientists certainly tell you straight up that this wish is pretty unlikely, maybe impossible to implement now ... So:
Wish #2 We wish people adapt to the changes.
That pretty much sums it up. We all think that this can be great fun for everyone, and it would remove all this pressure. So if you bring this present to us in a decade or two (after investors have had chance to adapt first, let’s not forget anyone that might be adversely affected by all this, no matter how small a group, it’s Christmas after all), that would be great. Thanks!!!
This is a big ask and we’re aware that somethings you just can’t get for Christmas, like a real flying carpet or a bazooka or an actual hover board without stupid wheels that is clearly not hovering, so we’ve spent a lot of effort on making things easier for you:
Instead of delivering this gift to the world, which might strain your back, our wish is that you deliver to every country a list of suggestions and plans that they don’t have to follow. Could be relaxing for you to be writing the wishes for once!!1! :)
To this end we have already agreed to hold talks/celebrations of these documents every 2 years to be able to show each other what great plans and wishes we have.
Countries that don’t follow your wish list you can note them in your naughty book and deliver them dirty lumps of tar and coal – seriously, they’re probably gonna want a lot of coal if they’ve been bad and haven’t kicked their fossil fuel habit.
Your humble stewards of the planet
P.S. We’ll also be throwing some money at the problem, but it’s just a small fraction compared to what our biggest military spends every year, or what we’ve gifted the banking industry recently, or what we give the fossil fuel industry every year in all sorts of subsidies while letting them externalize environmental and health costs – so it’s not much and we’re really depending on you to come through for us. Thanks again Santa!
If you think that letting the entire future of humanity ride on a long list of wishes is maybe not the best idea, stay tuned to our next post in this series that more deeply analyzes what we can do in this precarious situation.