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:

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