The Complete Idiot’s Guide to being a Head of State at the Earth Summit

Hi kids! Have you been watch­ing the pro­ceed­ings of the Earth Sum­mit in Johan­nes­burg? Do you wish that YOU too could take bold com­mit­ments to save the world and turn them into mushy lan­guage full of loop­holes, wig­gle room, and ambi­gu­i­ty GUARANTEED to ensure you nev­er have to lift a fin­ger to save the plan­et???

Well now you CAN! Let’s pre­tend you’re a real world lead­er in Johan­nes­burg! Here’s what you should do when hand­ed a draft agree­ment.

Let’s say this draft con­tains the fol­low­ing state­ment:

All coun­tries agree to phase out coal as an ener­gy source.

Isn’t that just awful? So clear and so sim­ple a child could have writ­ten it, but it’ll mean a lot of work for you when you get home. It may also make some of those pals of yours a lit­tle bit upset. They might not buy you any more elec­tions! So let’s swing into action!

Now, if you’re a nation­al del­e­gate, you can tell the Chair­man that you want to put that state­ment in brack­ets. Brack­ets mean you’re not entire­ly hap­py with that text, and you’d like to stran­gle it. Go on. Any coun­try can do it, all by them­selves, for any rea­son at all. Brack­ets are cheap, so sprin­kle them lib­er­al­ly through­out any text that sug­gest actu­al­ly doing any­thing! It’s so easy!!!

[All coun­tries agree to phase out coal as an ener­gy source.]

Now that you’ve got it in brack­ets, let’s add some cool inac­ti­vat­ing phras­es. Per­son­al­ly, I’ve always liked “take mea­sures to.” Watch!

[All coun­tries agree to {take mea­sures to} phase out coal as an ener­gy source.]

Still, that’s a bit too crisp. So let’s reach into our doc­u­ment hat and find anoth­er nifty nugget. How about “have instru­ments in place”??? Sounds like lawyers will get involved! Now THAT ought to slow things down! Con­tin­ue read­ing “The Com­plete Idiot’s Guide to being a Head of State at the Earth Sum­mit”