Is It August 2010 or 2009? The State of International Climate Negotiations Offer Little Clue

global warming protest t-shirt photo

photo: Ben and Kaz Askins via flickr

Maybe the summer heat is going to my head, because a quick review of the state of global climate talks prior to COP16, now about four and half months away, just evokes a feeling deja vu: From island nations worried about their future saying no enough is being done, to delegates saying they have to pick up the pace to enact anything meaningful, to the US saying it's committed to cutting greenhouse gases yet Congress utterly failing to do, well, anything. This quote from Reuters is nearly identical to what's been said for over 18 months now:

Rich nations' emissions reductions pledges fall dramatically short of what is required to limit global warming to two degrees centigrade, a group of 43 small islands said on Tuesday at U.N. climate talks.

Substitute 'Copenhagen' for 'Cancun' in this one, also from Reuters and it could've been written at this time last year:

U.N. climate talks this week urgently need to focus and speed up as time runs out to secure a global deal on combat climate change by the end of the year, delegates at the opening of negotiations on Monday said.

There are only 11 working days of talks left until a U.N. summit in Cancun this November to agree on extending or replacing the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

How about this? From The Economic Times:

The United States has assured international negotiators it remains committed to reducing carbon emissions over the next 10 years, despite the collapse of efforts to legislate a climate bill.

US delegate Jonathan Pershing told a climate conference in Bonn, Germany, that Washington is not backing away from President Barack Obama's pledge to cut emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels.

And from the New York Times:

The divisions between industrialized and developing nations over climate policy seem even deeper than they were six months ago. China, which has long acted as a spokesman for developing countries, scolded developed countries on Monday for failing to accept their "historical responsibility" for climate change and urged them to do more in the way of emissions cuts, according to Xinhua, the government news agency.

If you're looking for a glimmer of hope in this, consider what Brazil's Ambassador for Climate Change has said, even if he's still playing down hopes that anything major will be accomplished:

While some may be concerned that less of a media frenzy around the next climate meeting in Cancun will mean things won't be delivered as handily, Serra thinks the meeting will benefit from participants will be under "less pressure" to deliver something dramatic, meaning the negotiations could be aimed at a longer-term strategy.

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More on Global Climate Change:
China's Carbon Emissions Need to Peak by 2020 for World to Meet Global Reduction Goals: IEA
Brazil's Climate Chief Dampens Hope for COP16
The 7 Things That Killed the Climate Bill

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