Photo via About Green
Could be bad news for the prospects of a global climate treaty--the Obama administration is now openly planning on having climate talks trickle into 2010. Could this reflect the waning hopes of world leaders for decisive climate action?Unfortunately, that could very well be the case. According to ClimateWire,
Experts have predicted for months that a major U.N. summit in Copenhagen this December -- billed as the place 192 nations would complete a new emissions pact -- would not deliver by deadline. With health care reform now sucking all the political oxygen out of the U.S. Senate, and with countries still bickering over fundamental issues, completing a new treaty within three months is looking more and more improbable.Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu has been publicly mentioning how Copenhagen isn't a be-all-end-all, perhaps with the intent to quell expectations. Other world leaders are also beginning to acknowledge that a final agreement in Copenhagen as planned is unlikely:
Elliot Diringer, vice president for international strategies at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, noted in a blog post yesterday that the United Nations likes to display a "Countdown to Copenhagen" digital clock at its conferences. But by this point, he said, it's obvious to everyone who keeps pace with climate negotiations that countries won't strike a deal before the clock runs out.There are still hopes that progress will be made at Copenhagen, though some have begun to discuss an interim climate treaty as opposed to a final successor to Kyoto. So what's in the way? Plenty: lack of agreement between developing and rich nations, to start with. Also, specifically relating to the US, there's a justified lack of faith in American involvement in the process--remember, the Clinton administration was instrumental in creating Kyoto, then the US Congress refused to ratify it. Certainly Obama is well aware of this, and is working closely with the Senate to get an idea of what they could approve for certain.
And so, the process drags on, and it's fair to say that things aren't looking ideal for a Copenhagen climate treaty.
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