One poor attempt to make sense of the Lima Climate Change Conference

After two weeks of talks, and another two bonus days of extra time talks, because the original talks ended in a tie or something, there was still nothing decided at the Lima Climate Change Conference.

It was never going to achieve anything but still, what a waste of everyone’s time.

Maybe we needed a penalty shootout of climate talks? Where the developing nations get to kick soccer balls at the heads of the rich nations. It’d make a great YouTube video, and make everyone feel a little better.

The poorer nations will get to work out their frustrations with some exercise, and the richer nations will get the punishment they know they deserve. You know, in the same way that some politicians and judges like to be spanked by hookers.

There were 194 countries represented at these talks. Apart from some large hotel bills, many sore heads, lots of good times, and lots and lots of paper with stuff on it that sounded meaningful but wasn’t, did anything at all happen?

Not really.

The most important thing to come out of these talks was a framework, or a commitment, or a something.

To maybe agree to possibly do something related to addressing the issue of climate change at some stage.

As long as nobody is too put out or has anything else on please hold that elevator and pass the sugar what a nice jacket and scarf thank you so much this has truly been a delight.

According to the European Union, when everyone meets in Paris in 2015, there are now high hopes that a global climate deal will get done.

Meaning the Lima Climate Conference was the most expensive example ever of a meeting where all that was decided is that there’ll be another meeting. Where everyone might talk about it then.

Lima Image 2

There was a candlelit vigil held outside the talks. Hoping and praying for action on climate change. Well I can’t read Spanish, so those signs could be saying ‘Hey rich people – thanks for ruining the planet you a-holes’. Also a valid statement.

In case you were wondering here’s what was actually decided at the Lima Conference:

1) An “ambitious agreement” in 2015 that reflects “differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” of each nation.

Translation: We all agree to disagree, for now. Until next year, when we all agree that we will again sit down and try to reach an agreement.

2) Developed countries to provide financial support to “vulnerable” developing nations.

Translation: You’ve got more money than us. Give us some. Please. No rush, and no pressure. Here’s a free t-shirt. I hope you like it.

3) National pledges to be submitted by the first quarter of 2015 by those states “ready to do so”.

Translation: If you want to maybe, perhaps do something about climate change you should. If you want. If you don’t, that’s cool too.

4) Countries to set targets that go beyond their “current undertaking”.

Translation: All 194 countries have agreed to put more in their recycling bins, and to remember to actually put them out this time.

5) The UN climate change body to report back on the national pledges in November 2015

Translation: We will be checking your bins. If there’s no change, we’ll dob on you. Apart from that though, nothing will happen. Enjoy the buffet.

Lima Image 3

Some of the delegates. I don’t know why they’re happy or who they’re waving at. Maybe they’re saying goodbye to the planet they just helped to destroy?

The other thing to come out of this colossal waste of time was the absolutely horrendous language being thrown around by all participants.

All reports from his conference carried sentiments along these lines: “None of the 194 countries attending the talks walked away with everything they wanted, but everybody got something.”

So we’ve got world leaders discussing the fate of our planet. By squabbling over the fine print, scrambling to get whatever they can, and arguing for the best possible deal.

These people have been entrusted by their respective countries to come together and tackle the biggest single problem we’ve ever faced as a society.

With their biggest concern being: “What’s in it for me?”

The only reason I don’t completely tune out of this debate is that I have some remaining optimism for the human race, and can’t afford or be bothered setting up an emergency bunker.

Really though, we all know where this is headed.

Scientists will continue to say that the situation is now critical, and only getting worse.

Climate driven catastrophes will continue to happen at an increased frequency, most affecting the poorest people on the planet.

Politicians and other assorted leaders will continue to get next to nothing done, by attacking this issue at an imperceptibly slow pace. Exactly like a banker who promises to steal one less dollar a day, while continuing to screw us all out of billions.

In the very near future, there will then be an environmental catastrophe. Everyone will scream, ‘I told you so’, and complain that we should’ve started taking drastic action ages ago.

Ages ago, like right now.


This article first appeared in The Curio:


Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

Follow me on Twitter: @xaviertoby

Like me on Facebook:

Buy my first book (read a bit for free):

For speaking engagements, comedy performances, writing assignments and all other enquires: [email protected]