Hollande has been working like crazy to get a Proper Result, ideally "legally biding" but at any rate something a bit better than Just Plain Embarrassing. It is fair to say that before the latest terrorism outbreak he was thinking about little else. In the way of these things, he's been trying to square it all away in advance. His diplomats are rushing about everywhere on this mission: in fact *ahem* I happened to be sat next to one on the flight back from Africa this summer, who had no idea who I was and from whom I gathered that because the Chinese and others are really not at all interested in "legally binding", the best Hollande will get is something incredibly thin. But maybe better than No Agreed Communique At All, his greatest nightmare.
We have had a bunch of FCO types beavering away on all this, too:
201 FCO staff work across climate-themed initiatives, with 79 counting this as their full-time roleWhy? I hear you ask. Why indeed, but apparently a large number of them are for the axe - after Paris - as part of Osborne's draconian policy-change away from all the green crap.
The question is: what has the UK delegation been mandated to agree? I suspect they don't need to say very much because anything coal-powered China and India are willing to sign up for, I'm guessing we won't find too onerous. Of course, the worry would be that Europe is up for some self-harming 'leadership' role in all this, spewing money in the direction of developing countries for 'renewables' (you know, like 5 litre V8 Range Rovers for the president and a slush fund for his extended family) and accepting another round of infeasible 'targets'. Except that I think not: Germany seems to have had enough, with Merkel having pulled the amazing '2100' can-kicking stunt back in the summer.
As well as his recent round of policy changes - pulling the plug on the CCS nonsense being the latest - Osborne has given us another big clue in the Tory Manifesto, which said, inter alia:
We will not support additional distorting and expensive power sector targetsI reckon those are carefully chosen words, and that we may infer GB won't be signing up for anything that can't comfortably be delivered. The days when Tony Blair let us in for a renewables target for energy believing it to be for electricity, are hopefully long gone. Renewables targets per se are truly fatuous, even for someone who wants to see CO2 emissions reduced: the great Professor David Mackay, formerly DECC's scientific adviser has recently spilled the beans on the outright countr-productive nature of this, and the government now understands the logic of the situation.
Still, Osborne's policy-making has disappointed us all royally on occasion, so we shall have to wait and see. The rhetoric is ramping up on all sides (artists for COP21, children for COP21 ...). Will my optimism be rewarded in time for Christmas ..?