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To what does the highlighted ‘that’ refer? To ‘bond’ or to ‘climate policy’?

Earlier, however, the Paris Agreement, adopted to general enthusiasm in December 2015, had foreshadowed the emergence of a new kind of diplomacy aimed at bringing the concert of nations into the era of climate change awareness. Despite the weaknesses that underlay this agreement, it was this attempt to forge a bond between diplomatic cooperation and climate policy that was attacked by the new masters of chaos: there was no question of founding a world order on any limitation of the economy.

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    that always refers to the preceding term.
    – Lambie
    Jan 25 at 14:15
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    It refers to "attempt to forge a bond between diplomatic cooperation and climate policy".
    – BillJ
    Jan 25 at 15:03
  • The structure of the cited text is no different to It was Janet that (or who) attacked John and It was here that I met your mother. Jan 25 at 18:30

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The reference in this context is not the bond or climate policy in this text, rather it refers to the attempt to forge a bond between diplomatic cooperation and climate policy as a whole.

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    I agree, except that the determiner "this" (your "the") is not part of the antecedent. Integrated (defining) relative clauses modify nominals, not noun phrases.
    – BillJ
    Jan 25 at 15:01
  • @BillJ , you were right, that was an accident. Thanks!
    – Buzzyy
    Jan 25 at 15:12

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