At the end of this month 40,000 politicians, officials, green activists, lobbyists and journalists from 195 nations will converge outside Paris – at Europe’s largest airport reserved only for private jets – for a conference that they hope will change the world.
Their declared aim is to agree a treaty committing everyone to such a massive cut in their emissions of greenhouse gases that this might somehow prevent the earth’s temperatures rising more than 2 degrees C higher than they were when the climate began naturally warming again two centuries ago.
The vast majority of countries have argued all along that, if man-made CO2 is causing a problem, the fault lies with those “developed” nations that became rich before everyone else by burning fossil fuels to power their industrial revolution.
It is therefore up to the developed countries of the West to make the most drastic cuts, leaving the still “developing” nations to catch up. They say they are prepared to make some contribution to reducing CO2, but only if they are paid to do so out of a $100 billion a year “Green Climate Fund”, financed by the rich countries that originally created the problem.