The mood leading up to the annual climate summit in Cancun feels markedly different than that of Copenhagen last year. There is either due to little hope of any productive agreements or a conscious strategy by international representatives to significantly dampening expectations. Unfortunately, the reality is likely a combination of both.
Negotiators in Cancun plan to focus on the relatively “simpler” issues to confront:
- finalizing the “fast track” $30B of climate aid for poor nations to adapt to climate change,
- progressing the discussion of technology sharing for adaptation and emission reductions, and
- establishing a broad forest preservation regime.
More ambitious topics for debate include substantial, formal emission reduction commitments from the world’s two largest emitters (China and the U.S.) as well as agreement on an emissions measurement, reporting and verification scheme.
Nevertheless, some interesting trends could positively impact international negotiations.
· Concerns over the ability to obtain future concessions and agreement from the U.S. if the political shift to the right continues in 2012, which coincides with the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol.