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.