Quote of the Day: the Durban Climate Agreement

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From Kate Sheppard, explaining how the Durban climate conference managed to avoid catastrophe and forge a last-minute agreement:

In the end, it came down to a single turn of phrase: changing “legal outcome” in the earlier draft to “an agreed outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all parties.”

Whatever it takes, I guess. In the end, the Durbanites agreed to “launch a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force.” So that’s that. A process will be started. The outcome will be a protocol, or maybe a legal instrument, or maybe an agreed outcome with legal force. Hopefully this outcome will happen by 2015. And then everyone will sign on by 2020.

This doesn’t strike me as an especially cheering result, but, as usual, it’s better than a complete meltdown, I suppose. For more details, Michael Levi has a fairly discouraging take here (“It is distressing to see how much attention has become devoted to form rather than function”) while David Roberts has a slightly more upbeat take here (the agreement may be mostly symbolic, but it’s also “a marker and a serious concession”).

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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