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6 White-haired Men Deciding Our Future

There are some amazingly strong women running the show in the UN climate negotiations. In fact, I think these women are a big reason why we are so close to a global agreement. Im thinking South Africa’s Diseko and Colombia’s Andrea Guerrero and some of the other women featured here in The 5 Women Who Could Make or Break a Climate Deal in the Next 24 Hours.

But the sad reality is that there are a whole handful of old, white-haired men holding them up. Here’s my list of some of the old, white-haired men standing in their way.


This “former oil mogul” has safely directed his way around two oil companies and collected a wallet-full of knowledge to guide his decisions here.

Sharing his climate concern with Ducor SL and Petrologis Canarias SL, he was said to have given special “privileged access” to fossil fuel companies in the run-up to COP21.

For every 1 meeting this secret dealer wheeled with a renewable energy company, he enshrined 22 with the fossil fuel industry.

But I guess that’s just a coincidence the EU has committed only one-fifth of their fair shares for  emission cuts based on their INDC’s.


Nicaraguans are said to be very hardworking. And this American-sounding anti-imperial saviour has worked hard all week. Pity he didn’t work on his INDC.

In fact, Oquist called the INDC’s a “spin on historical responsibility” as those “who created the problem must solve it.”

And we can’t help but agree.

But after 4 years of inaction, his rhetoric has become distracting as even Congo and Iraq have made more progress in salvaging their economies from fossilisation.

When this white-haired man speaks, fear not as his bark has no plan to bite. But beware this brazen beast of historical burden, as this white-haired-man will bark up every tree he can climb.


Ah, where to start? Ayman Shasly, the great Sheik of science, has conducted a randomised test on headache-creation all week.

Cry me a vulnerability river as the millionaire-minions fight for the rights of all future retired Ferari’s. But consider if you will, their differentiated drag-race back through 1200 hours of Technical Expert advice, and we may all come to realise their “non-political” stance over outdated science.

If the IPCC didn’t whisper it in their ear as a bedtime nursery rhyme, how could they remember small islands by the morning.

But say what you like, this is a consensus building process, and if we are ever to build a climate empire, we will need his majestically-white-haired-and-moustachioed advice


Lets make this brief. Because Gurdial never will.

The man who has single-handedly added Saturday’s to the regular agenda, and repeated more metaphors than the book of proverbs, cannot go without an honourable mention among his white-haired-yet-lesser-hat-wearing friends.

Quickly Gurdial has risen to a crowd favourite, playing to civil society’s peripheral blindness for access over domestic rights. With an elaborate equity plan on the tip of his differentiated lips, the like minded developing countries have found in Gurdial a leader capable of carrying on their over-inflated legacy.

Last night he threatened a justice revolt, and with a recent revolution in his INDC targets, we should take his word for it.

But if there is any chance for equity to continue into the future, it may indeed rest on this white-haired man’s-hatted-head.


Turnbull grabbed the leadership from Tony “Coal is good for humanity” Abbott in a low-key coup, but he’s no longer the climate knight in Goldman Sachs shoes who once called Abbott’s climate policy “bullshit”.

Insiders say that inside this ugly caterpillar, with its tabloid newsprint cocoon, is a beautiful butterfly just waiting to stretch his wings. Privately, Turnbull retains his absolute conviction that climate change is a vital challenge to which the white-haired hand of the market can calmly wave into reality.

But as the man with an innovative plan for coal mine expansion is cashing in on more Fossil’s than any climate change believer could repent for. Add in a few ill timed gags about island nations sinking, some fossil subsidy sign-language and a self-titled “ambitious” ignorance, and you have at least one more white-haired man to add to the list.


John “doesn’t” Care-y has been around for long-er than a drum-roll time. A domestic leader within the Bush climate legacy, now has his sights on making Obama’s resilient bed.

With an opportunity to cement his illustrious illustrating career, carving comma’s and brackets around the castle’s of loss and damage and differentiation, we could see this creative designer behind the recycled, double-sided final text.

But if Kerry truly wants to make his boss’s bed properly, he’ll need a sensitive touch for his white-haired fingertip rush into “ambition”.

But after years of waiting for the US to catch up, perhaps now we can finally believe in what these white-haired-men have left behind in Copenhagen, and offset here in Paris.


About Renee Juliene Karunungan

Renee, from the Philippines, is currently Climate Tracker's Outreach Manager. She was a Climate Tracker fellow and was named by The Guardian as one of the "Young Climate Campaigners to Watch Before the UN Paris Summit" in 2015.

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