‘Historic’ Climate Accord In Paris? Media Hype Won’t Wait For The ‘Hard Part’

Posted on Sat 12/26/2015 by


TimGrahampicture-13-1409699701By Tim Graham ~

James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal had some fun with the liberal praise for the latest global-warming accord in Paris, which was uniformly described as “historic.” For example he noticed this “Good Reasons to Cheer” article from Elizabeth Kolbert for The New Yorker: “The climate accord approved in Paris over the weekend has, justifiably, been described as ‘historic.’ It represents the most significant step forward since international climate negotiations began, more than two decades ago.”

Paris-accordBut is it really historic? Or could it end up being a phantom achievement, since most countries fail to live up to whatever emission-reduction goals they pledge to achieve at these confabs? Even Kolbert admitted later in the same article: “As many analysts have pointed out, the plans—known as nationally determined contributions, or N.D.C.s—are, collectively, not nearly enough to avert catastrophic climate change. Nor are they necessarily going to be realized.”

His headline was “Two New Yorkers In One!”

The evanescence of this achievement also comes through in this passage from Kolbert: “In order to reach an agreement in Paris—and a great deal of credit for the final text belongs to the French and their determination to make the meeting a success—delegates in Le Bourget decided, in effect, to sacrifice coherence for comity. This means that the pact is not a realizable blueprint for the future but, rather, a collection of aspirations, some of them contradictory.”

Taranto also noted the tendency to claim the “hard part” came next:

  • “UN climate change talks have officially kicked off in Paris. They’ve managed to gather 150 world leaders in one room—but now comes the hard part.”—video summary, France24.com, Dec. 1
  • “Climate Pact Ready, Now Comes the Hard Part”—headline, Agence France-Presse, Dec. 5
  • “The World Just Agreed to a Major Climate Deal in Paris. Now Comes the Hard Part.”—headline, Vox, Dec. 11
  • “Now Comes the Hard Part: The World’s Carbon Diet Starts”—headline, Associated Press, Dec. 13
  • “After two weeks of high stakes diplomacy in Paris to seal a global climate deal, now comes the hard part.”—Kim Landers, ABC radio (Australia), Dec. 14
  • “After a champagne moment in Paris, where ministers from around the world crafted a pact to fight perilous climate change, now comes the hard part.”—Agence France-Presse, Dec. 15
  • “Paris is over. The cheering and high-fiving have died down. Now comes the hard part.”—editorial, New York Times, Dec. 15

Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters. He is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.

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