13 Dec 2015

Do you not despair sometimes...?

"Should" we or "shall" we take the action that could save millions of lives and leave our grandchildren with something like a reasonable planet?

"The acceptance of the Paris (climate) agreement was met with cheers that rang across La Seine…
But just a few hours before the celebrations, there was a crisis that nearly saw the entire deal unravel agonisingly close to its conclusion.

The sharp-eyed legal advisers in the United States delegation noticed something had changed between the penultimate draft and the final version being presented.
Where the word "should" had been used in all previous drafts, the word "shall" was, for some unknown reason, now in its place.

It was a seemingly small error — but one with enormous implications.
"Should" implies a moral obligation but does not compel a nation to do something. "Shall", however, means there would be a legal obligation to undertake the action.

If the final text used the word "shall" in the wrong place, it would require the Americans to get congressional approval — something universally acknowledged as impossible.
If it was not changed, the US would never be able to sign on and China would then not sign on to something to which the Americans were not a party.

But it was not a simple matter of fixing the text.

Some nations saw it as a serious change that required re-opening the negotiations."


Should I or shall I have a beer? Oh how I must debate whether my free will compels me or I have a moral obligation to satisfy my thirst?

Well it's summer now in Australia. How hot is it? It's fucking hot. I think a camel fainted in my rose garden.
I shall should have that beer. For real.


  1. Thanks Magpie. I learn so much here. I had no idea there were camels in Australia and feral camels at that. That's wild. Hopefully, as much as I would secretly like to have a camel, it doesn't get hot enough here for them.

  2. A mistake?
    Legalese wording has screwed up much of America's legislation, which ends up meaning something totally different than intended. That's a lawyers planned tactic.

  3. Kevin,

    I should add I don’t actually own a camel, although I do own a rose garden. Little bit of hyperbole there.

    But two days hence is set to break all records for heat where I live.
    I know it’s not a matter of whether it’s hot or cold where you live – which is why I have this oddly Leftist thing of accepting the most expert scientific consensus over whatever I just happen to feel like believing – but records are getting broken quite a lot.

    Yes we have feral camels. We have feral everything.
    Cats whose ancestors were house pet sized things that came over on ships (cats, like camels, are not native to Australia) are growing enormous out in the bush. There’s a horror movie waiting to be made about that.


    Interesting comment. If you’ve written a post about that angle somewhere, I’d read it…

  4. Sorry, I did get distracted by the bright, shiny object that was the camel.

    Solar energy seems to be a rapidly growing industry here. But then, I believe people drive as much as ever. So, sometimes it feels we're making progress and at other times not.

    Congressional approval on anything not batshit insane is unlikely. The bright spot there is that if Herr Trump is the nominee perhaps there will be many congressional casualties among the Republicans in his wake.

  5. No don't apologise, mate, I enjoy talking about my country's eccentricities. And yes there could be Republican obliteration next year - early Christmas.

  6. I stopped posting on my blog years ago.

  7. Fair enough. Thanks anyway.