Nations Rush to Create the First Draft of a Global Climate Treaty at COP15


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Nations from around the world aren't wasting any time in forging the foundation for what could be one of the most important documents in history. Many are rushing to hammer out the details for a basic consensus for a global climate agreement before the top ministers arrive, who will be followed shortly by heads of state from around the world. In other words, the pressure is on. So what's hampering progress? The 4 big things that always have.The New York Times lays out the four questions that serve as stumbling blocks for negotiations pretty accurately. They are:

  1. How much and how fast rich countries should cut their emissions or pledge to limit the rise in planetary temperature.

  2. How much emerging economic powers like China and India should rein in the growth of their emissions, and how they should prove they have diverted from "business as usual."

  3. How much rich countries should compensate poor ones to limit vulnerability to climate extremes that are expected to worsen in many regions near the Equator as greenhouse gases build in the atmosphere and seas continue rising.

  4. How those money flows can be guaranteed, given that past commitments under earlier climate pacts have largely gone unpaid, and which bloc gets to manage and administer the money.
The chasm between rich and developing nations--and between finding solutions to these questions and remaining at an impasse--was highlighted by two developments that each had both sides calling foul. The Times reports:
Two proposals popped loudly on Tuesday: a Danish text, seen by many observers to be mainly accommodating the interests of the United States and other industrialized powers; and one drafted by China and endorsed by a variety of developing countries. Both were criticized by the opposing camps.
Much ado was made out of very little with the Danish text 'leak', but another interesting development came to light when the bloc of developing countries looked to be disagreeing internally as well. According to the BBC:
A major split between developing countries has emerged at the UN climate talks . . . Small island states and poor African nations vulnerable to climate impacts laid out demands for a legally-binding deal tougher than the Kyoto Protocol. This was opposed by richer developing states such as China, which fear tougher action would curb their growth. The split within the developing country bloc is highly unusual, as it tends to speak with a united voice.
So that's a semi-unexpected development, though the frustration with rich nations not doing enough is certainly nothing new.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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