Imagine someone tried to sue you and they argued that you didn’t try really hard. You might argue that you did. And you might have. And you might not have.
So, if the words are not specific, they cannot be legally enforced. Nobody can be held accountable because it’s not clear what they are actually accountable for.
This problem is common in international climate change agreements.
In the Copenhagen Accord, for example, countries agreed to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere so that the increase in global temperature is no more than 2 degrees Celsius. If the temperature increase goes beyond 2 degrees, who is held accountable? How?
The purpose of this website, then, is to deconstruct the language that is being negotiated for the Conference of Parties in Paris in November/December 2015. We want to highlight where countries are trying to insert “weasel words” which allow them to avoid playing their role in preventing dangerous climate change.