Photo via France 24
It appears many of the world's nations are ready to cautiously dip their toes back into the realm of international talks--additional climate negotiations have just been added in Bonn, Germany. And what's on the agenda? Well, pretty much the agenda. The agenda's on the agenda. Without going further into a 'Whos on First?' routine, suffice to say that it appears the primary thrust of these additional conference dates will be determining the schedule and content for international climate talks for the rest of the year. That agenda includes tackling how many more talks will be needed in the runup to the conference in Mexico at the end of the year, which issues should be tackled when (carbon tariffs being a hotly contested one at the moment), and determining how much hate mail to send the US Senate.
Seriously, though, the stalemate climate legislation is currently enduring in the US Senate is the number one obstacle towards reaching a meaningful international climate treaty (don't let anyone try to tell you it's China--it's not). No other nations can be confident that the US will take action, regardless of Obama's pledge, until Congress has passed a law. So with Europe already agreeing to strong emissions cuts, and the developed world waiting on the US to make a move, the ball is in our court.
Which is why the signal to add more talks is a good one. Reuters reports:
Until now, the calendar had been limited to a session of officials in Bonn from May 31-June 11 and ministerial talks in Cancun, Mexico from November 29-December 10. That was a sharp slowdown from the five preparatory talks last year before Copenhagen.So it may have been tempting for the UN Climate Secretariat to keep talks limited until the US acts (either via legislation or EPA regulation), with the wind pulled out of the negotiations' sails by the disappointment in Copenhagen. This could serve to start beating the drum for legislative climate action again--and hopefully will. How long, after all, can the US Senate stick its head in the sand and pretend like the entire world isn't waiting for US leadership on climate change (or any sincere cooperation at all, for that matter)?
PS: Don't answer that.