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Rebecca Solnit on Paris

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In the front matter of the December issue of Harper's, Rebecca Solnit writes about the climate change talks in Paris.

I'm afraid I can't follow her points very well, because my mind has been distracted to the guessing game of when she wrote this essay.

It was obviously written before the Paris talks, which concluded with an agreement December 12th. The political/diplomatic leadership of the 196 nations involved committed to keeping global warming at or below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Solnit essay was not only written before that (and phrased sensibly in the future tense), it was probably written before the terrorist attack on the streets of Paris on November 13, 2015. She writes of "the possibility that the most important activity in Paris this month  will happen not in any meeting room but in the place where most revolutions happen: the streets."

Context indicates that she meant that scruffy activists in their street demonstrations would force the hands of the officials in expensive suits negotiating in their meeting rooms.

But the wording unfortunately reminds us of the event the previous month, an event that was neither a meeting nor a revolution, but a post-modern invasion.

I don't know how the implementation of the agreement is going to work out. Nor do I know whether the street demonstrations that did occur during the climate talks had any impact on the talks themselves. But what I'm pretty sure of is that two or five years from now, what people around the world will remember about Paris in late 2015 won't be either the talks or the 'revolution.' It will be the invasion.

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