Today on Planet 100: Guide to COP16: Cancun (Video)

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Last year, after months of build up, politicians, scientists, and environmental activists flocked to Copenhagen for COP15: A conference that many hoped would produce a binding, international agreement, on carbon emissions and an actionable plan for addressing climate change. These goals, of course, weren't realized.

Nearly twelve months later, the Conference of the Parties is ready to convene once again—this time in Cancun, Mexico.

The issues, controversies, and conflicts are, unfortunately, very similar. Only time will tell if the past year has provided key players with the perspective they need to settle on a real solution the the planet's most pressing problem.To help clarify what's going on in Mexico, Planet 100 presents a quick guide to COP16: Cancun.

1. What is it?

What is it? COP 16 is the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties which meets every year to agree on international efforts to address climate change. It was set up as part of a UN treaty on climate change, known as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change or the UNFCCC. Held over 12 days, this year's summit will take place in Cancun, Mexico.

2. Who's Going?

So who's going? Or should that be, who's not going? While 2009's Copenhagen summit was a major political event, this year's gathering in Cancun is expected to be a much more subdued affair.

Last year's meeting saw the largest-ever collection of people come together for a climate change meeting, with 4,000 reporters and more than 120 heads of state in attendance, including US president Barack Obama. This year, no heads of state are expected to attend.

3. What's on the Agenda?

Key on this year's agenda is the issue of climate funding. Namely how it should be distributed among developing countries and whether the current pledged climate fund amount is enough to really make a difference.

Another topic on the agenda will be the development of the controversial REDD+ program which deals with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.

4. What are the Sticking Points?

Apart from the big one, an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, climate funding could prove to be a sticking point.

Of the agreed $30 billion that has been pledged since Copenhagen, only $8 billion has actually been committed to international climate change programs and only $4 billion has actually been received. This has the developing world worried that industrialized nations are reneging on promises made in Copenhagen.

5 What are the Predictions?

With no heads of state, it's predicted that a stronger scientific voice will be heard on the political stage, advising how best to tackle climate change in the future.

Although an agreement is not expected to happen at Cancun, many are looking ahead and hope that COP 16 will set the stage for an internationally binding commitment to be reached at the next meeting in South Africa in 2011.

Via: The Ecologist
Read more about COP16:
Beyond Bonn, Why Not Just Skip COP16 & Focus on 2011 in South Africa?
Brazil's Climate Chief Dampens Hopes for COP16
Thinking About Art at COP16
Is It August 2010 or 2009? The State of International Climate Negotiations Offer Little Clue

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