Waving the climate treaty prospects goodbye . . . for now. Photo via BBC
It's official--and I mean really official--there will be no finalized global climate agreement by December. The last few months have proved to be a bit of a roller coaster ride concerning expectations for seeing a climate treaty this year in Copenhagen--albeit one that went into a free-falling plunge over the last couple of weeks. Over the weekend, world leaders definitively announced that the treaty will be delayed. But many experts are actually saying that this could actually be good news--here's why.From the NY Times:
President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement at a global climate conference scheduled for next month, agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific "politically binding" agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future.Instead, they've pledged to reach a binding agreement over the course of 2010.
Although most anyone who follows climate news was already aware that arriving at a global climate treaty in Copenhagen was about as dim a prospect as they come, this news serves to clear the air and allow for negotiators to set a more meaningful agenda than the stale 'will they-or-won't they?' drama allowed for. There's no if's about it now--nations will now know not to expect a binding treaty, and the relief from that pressure may allow for more nuanced progress.
Here's Dave Roberts:
Nonetheless, if the world's nations had headed into Copenhagen expecting a legally binding treaty complete with targets and timetables, the result would have been disappointment, acrimony, and worst of all, wasted time. By taking some of the pressure of Copenhagen, the two-steps agreement has avoided disaster and maintained momentum. It's also given the Obama administration time to engage in more climate diplomacy.
However, looming in the back of everyone's mind is the fact that the climate's not waiting--temperatures and emissions continue to rise--and we're nowhere near achieving the significant reductions necessary to stave off the worst of climate change. And the US Senate continues to dally on clean energy legislation, creating perhaps the most serious obstacle to reaching a climate agreement in the world. Until it gets off its laurels, there can be no serious international progress made.
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