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They don't miss a thing

05 May 2021 | News Roundup

Britain’s spy agency has announced that it’s making monitoring China’s compliance with its Paris commitments a top priority. Agent 007, meet Inspector Clouseau. Because China has no Paris commitments worth monitoring. The IPCC may call The Paris Agreement “a legally binding international treaty on climate change” (and fuel paranoia by declaring that “Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science”). But the actual text merely commits participants to “undertake and communicate ambitious efforts as defined in Articles 4, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 13 with the view to achieving the purpose of this Agreement as set out in Article 2.” And behind that gooblahoy lurks, in Article 4, “Developing country Parties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.” So “C” and his MI6 will be monitoring China’s progress toward moving toward doing some vague thing later. At least the work shouldn’t be dangerous… unlike the delusion that spy agencies should focus on empty words from tyrants rather than cyberwar, intellectual property theft and subversion.

Hard-bitten investigative journalists also missed China’s lack of commitment, evidently. According to that Telegraph story “Richard Moore, head of the UK’s foreign intelligence service, described climate change as the ‘foremost international foreign policy item for this country and for the planet’. It means the big industrial countries will be monitored by MI6 to ensure they are upholding their commitments to combating rising global temperatures. Mr Moore, known as ‘C’, took charge of the intelligence agency in October and has become the first head of the service to ever give a broadcast interview. He indicated that British spies will make China the focus of much of their climate-related espionage by pointing out that Beijing is ‘certainly the largest emitter’ of carbon. ‘Our job is to shine a light in places where people might not want it shone and so clearly we are going to support what is the foremost international foreign policy agenda item for this country and for the planet, which is around the climate emergency, and of course we have a role in that space,’ he told Times Radio. ‘Where people sign up to commitments on climate change, it is perhaps our job to make sure that what they are really doing reflects what they have signed up to.’”

Or not. A better use of MI6’s time would be tracking China’s support for environmental activists who are convincing the West to hobble itself in the name of fighting climate change while China marches on towards its 2050 ambitions. Now that would be shining a light in places where people might not want it shone.

5 comments on “They don't miss a thing”

  1. "Our job is to shine a light in places where people might not want it shone..."
    Only so long as the wind blows and the sun shines.

  2. China is laughing all the way to the bank. Their stated ambition is to rule the world, economically speaking, by 2050 (2049 actually, 100 years after their communist revolution), and getting the Western world to hobble themselves by shutting down all their industries in the name of 'saving the planet' appears to be a large part of their plan. The Chinese leadership, of course, does not believe in the fashionable delusion of anthropogenic climate change and has no intention of doing anything about it, regardless of any meaningless agreements such as Paris. MI6 can shine all the lights they want, but it will not have the slightest affect on China's behaviour.

  3. Like the oil companies that invest in a few windmills so that they can define themselves as "Energy companies", is this just trendy window dressing? Maybe MI6 has a new graduate down in the basement who occasionally writes resumes on Chinese open source climate publications, whilst the rest of the organisation gets on with the job it was set up to do? On the other hand I fear for Britain's security priorities: The Royal Air Force has announced it will be carbon neutral in the next few years. I have no idea how that would work, but my guess is the Air Chief Marshal has no idea either.

  4. @ Christopher Solheim-Allen

    I do wonder if, when Boris declared the UK has an "extraordinary potential" for wind energy, he was actually referring to the subsidies on offer?

    Joking aside, it does seem bizarre that at the same time China is rattling its sabres (which I thought would have been much more of a concern to the likes of MI6), Western Governments are continuing to pursue policies which will emasculate their industrial bases and, thus, their ability to respond. Sorry chaps, no sailing or air patrols today. We've used up our carbon credits for the month.

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