Thursday :: Nov 5, 2009

Copenhagen Climate Talks Already In Trouble. Guess Why.


by Turkana

Not that there's any urgency, but the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will begin December 7, in Copenhagen, already is in deep trouble. Guess why...

According to The Guardian:

A global deal to fight climate change will take at least six months and possibly another year to finalise, according to negotiators at the heart of the UN talks.

In a series of briefings, senior British and EU diplomats said they had abandoned any hope of reaching a legally binding treaty at the Copenhagen summit next month and had now started to plan only for a meeting of world leaders. This final acknowledgement follows weeks of growing pessimism and represents a significant downgrading of the summit's original goal.

The best outcome in Copenhagen will now be a political agreement which rich countries hope will include targets and timetables for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by developed nations and major emitters like China, as well as commitments to provide money for poor countries to cope with climate change. But even that reduced goal is far from certain, with huge gaps remaining between nations on key issues such as emissions cuts and funding for poor nations.

The delay was said to be caused by a combination of time running out in the tortuous UN negotiations and Washington's inability to commit specifically to targets and timetables. The US made clear yesterday that it thought a legal treaty was impossible in Copenhagen.

And the Associated Press adds:

The United States — the only industrialized nation to reject previous climate deals — had pledged to be a leader in climate change policy after President Barack Obama took office.

In Washington this week, three senators were scrambling to rescue troubled climate legislation, but it was unlikely to advance through Congress in time for Copenhagen.

"This cannot be an excuse for the world not to get an answer to the climate problem," Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said Thursday during a visit to India.

As highlighted by BarbinMD, Senator Barbara Boxer is not messing around, in the Senate. The Republicans are doing what Republicans do: literally walking out on their responsibility. Agence France-Presse adds this little nugget:

One Democrat, centrist senator Max Baucus, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, broke with his party as the lone Democrat to vote against the bill, saying that its goals for reducing greenhouse emission levels were too ambitious.

Him. Again.

Meanwhile, the European Union has agreed that wealthier nations need to help poorer nations, but it has failed to agree on its own contribution. African nations boycotted a round of preliminary talks, because they believe their views are being excluded. But with international leadership desperately needed, the world's wealthiest and most energy-hungry nation isn't stepping up.

Reuters:

John Ashe, chairman of talks to extend the existing Kyoto Protocol, said failing a December deal, which he preferred, negotiators should wrap up at the next meeting in Bonn around May, as happened in 2000. "We did it before, can do it again."

Some other delegates said it could take longer, partly because U.S. carbon-capping legislation will not be ready this year despite a vote by a Senate panel on Thursday in favor of a Democratic climate bill.

A Japanese official said "unless it's agreed within six months after Copenhagen it will perhaps be the following year because of the U.S. mid-term elections." About a third of the U.S. Senate is up for re-election in November 2010.

Sounds encouraging. Granted, a lot of important issues are on the table, right now. But is any more important?

Turkana :: 11:49 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!