Friday, November 20, 2009

17 Days Until Copenhagen

The Obama administration is working hard to position a scaled-back agreement at Copenhagen as a success while keeping ensuring the US's role in the process is perceived in a positive light. The key components of an interim agreement are thought to include non-binding political commitments for emissions reductions by developed nations as well as a legitimate pledge on an international aid program for climate change combat and adaptation.

Leaders at APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum, last week, officially dropped the goal of an accord for a 50% global emissions reduction by 2050 at Copenhagen. The singular goal, "a very controversial issue in the world community which could disrupt the negotiations process," was cited as the reason for the elimination by a Chinese official.

Relevant Articles

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

26 Days Until Copenhagen

  • While international aid transfers remains a material impasse, diplomats are quick to blame the lack of reduction targets by the US as the primary deterrent to a comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen.
  • A two treaty framework, a Kyoto extension and a developing country agreement, to be debated at Copenhagen.
  • US to seek climate management framework at Copenhagen.
  • Obama says he'll attend Copenhagen if his presence will be beneficial to the process.
  • IEA releases forecast of booming energy consumption if emissions not curbed at Copenhagen or soon after.
  • IEA says that one year delay in climate treaty will cost $500B, roughly a 5% increase to the 2010 to 2030 estimated required mitigation spend.
  • Friday, November 6, 2009

    31 Days Until Copenhagen

    The last global negotiations before December in Copenhagen came to a close in Barcelona with a flurry of drama but without brightening the hopes of a comprehensive accord next month. The African delegation boycotted and successfully halted the meetings on Tuesday, insisting that the 37 developed countries, addressed in the Kyoto Protocol, schedule concrete and more drastic emissions reductions targets following the Protocol's expiration in 2012. While (as of Thursday) emissions reductions were not agreed, Africa managed to win 60% of meeting time committed to discuss this over others issues such as emissions regime governance. African leaders point to their continents likely perils in the face of climate change, including migration leading to strife and unrest.

    Adversaries in climate negotiations are diametrically opposed over whether to maintain the division of emissions treatment for developed & developing nations under Kyoto or draft a new blanket agreement to encompass most all nations. Kyoto obligations seem to be a weak bargaining chip for those countries led by China & India. Expiring in 2012, likely less than 24 months after a international accord will reasonably be struck, Kyoto is increasingly a weak agreement, with unambitious emissions cuts, a governance framework yet to be perfected and a major participant void, the US. While China is making huge commitments in low carbon development, the US is probably reluctant to just trust the world's fastest growing and largest emitter to adhere to voluntary emissions reduction targets.

    Other noteworthy articles this week:

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    36 Days Until Copenhagen

    With Copenhagen in only a month and significant hurdles still to overcome, U.N. climate officials now acknowledge that a ratifiable deal is unattainable. Rather, delegates will be encouraged to establish common ground on four key areas - emissions cuts for developed nations, developing countries commitments, climate financial aid and a governance framework. This week in Barcelona, the final round of traveling negotiations commences; participants hope to mend the divide between industrialized and developing nations so some progress on emissions commitments and international aid can be made at the summit. With the US Congress seen as one of the major hold-up in 2009, the prognosis for 2010 ("The Road to Mexico") may not be brighter as one-third of the Senate focuses on their re-election campaign reputations and efforts. Climate negotiations in the coming weeks and year will be America's opportunity to reclaim its position as the global catalyst for economic prosperity and social justice or to continue its descent from the economic, political and moral highground.