Copenhagen – the aftermath

Written by  //  December 13, 2010  //  Climate Change, Geopolitics, U.S., United Nations  //  1 Comment

 United Nations Climate Change Conference Cancun – COP 16 & CMP 6
IISD Linkages gavel to gavel coverage on Environment
Shauna Sylvester: Cancun – Was it a Success?

29 November to 10 December 2010


UN climate talks lay framework for future agreements
Economic concerns trumped environmental mandates during the two-week UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico. An agreement reached Saturday would create a $100 billion green climate fund to help poor countries develop and defend themselves in light of climate change, but it is unclear which countries would pay and which countries might qualify. The Guardian (London) (12/12) , BBC (12/11) , The Wall Street Journal (12/13)
Jola Ajibade [Sauvé Scholar 2008-20090]: The Cancun Accord: A Manufacturing Of Disaster
Some have hailed the Cancun Accord as a leap in the right direction. I do not subscribe to such position. The outcome of the UN Climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, November 29 to December 10, is completely disheartening.
12 December
Climate Talks End With Modest Deal on Emissions

(NYT) The agreement fell well short of the broad changes scientists say are needed to avoid dangerous climate change in coming decades. But it lays the groundwork for stronger measures in the future, if nations are able to overcome the emotional arguments that have crippled climate change negotiations in recent years.
The package known as the Cancún Agreements gives the more than 190 countries participating in the conference another year to decide whether to extend the frayed Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement that requires most wealthy nations to trim their emissions while providing assistance to developing countries to pursue a cleaner energy future.
The agreement sets up a new fund to help poor countries adapt to climate changes, creates new mechanisms for transfer of clean energy technology, provides compensation for the preservation of tropical forests and strengthens the emissions reductions pledges that came out of the last United Nations climate change meeting in Copenhagen last year.
The conference approved the package over the objections of Bolivia, which condemned the pact as too weak. Bolivia’s chief climate negotiator, Pablo Solón, said that the emissions reductions laid out in the plan would allow global temperatures to rise as much as 4 degrees Celsius over the next half century, twice the stated goal of the agreement and a level that would doom millions in the poorest and most vulnerable nations.
But his protests did not block acceptance of the package. Delegates from island states and the least-developed countries warmly welcomed the pact because it would start the flow of billions of dollars to assist them to adopt cleaner energy systems and adapt to inevitable changes in the climate, like sea rise and drought.
(The Guardian) Negotiators have reached a deal at the UN climate talks in Cancún
Consensus Emerges On Common Climate Path
… In Cancún, perhaps because the pressure was off to “seal the deal,” nearly all of the world’s nations rallied late Friday night around Mexico’s foreign secretary, Patricia Espinosa, and the text she offered as a rough template for an eventual global climate agreement.
Emissions Punted to Durban, Breakthrough Seen on Forests
By Stephen Leahy*
CANCÚN, Mexico, Dec 11, 2010 (IPS/TerraViva) – If success is measured by delaying difficult decisions, then the Cancún climate meeting succeeded by deferring crucial issues over financing and new targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the next Conference of the Parties meeting a year from now in Durban, South Africa.
Negotiators scramble for Cancun agreement
As the Cancun climate summit draws to a close, Russian representatives struck a note of defiance, saying they would not sign on to a renewed Kyoto Treaty commitment, and attendees remain locked in fierce negotiations over the question of binding greenhouse-gas emission cuts. Major developing countries China and India are refusing to agree to binding cuts and want to see developed countries recommit to Kyoto Treaty benchmarks. The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (12/11) , The Guardian (London) (12/10)
UN Climate Summit Needs an Overhaul
(Spiegel) At the UN climate summit, thousands of delegates are under immense pressure to negotiate sensible solutions in a matter of days. It’s no wonder that such meetings often end in failure. But there are alternatives to the large-scale approach.
9 December
U.N. Climate Talks On Knife Edge As Bolivia Slams Rich
(Planet Ark) A deadlock between rich and poor countries on whether to extend the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol, which obliges almost 40 rich nations to curb greenhouse gas emissions until 2012, overshadows the two-week meeting in Mexico, which is due to end on Friday.
“If they solve the dispute over Kyoto, negotiators are aiming to set up a new fund to help developing countries cope with climate change, work out ways to preserve tropical forests and agree a new mechanism to share clean technologies.
8 December
US Energy Secretary Plays Climate Activist

(Spiegel) At the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, the US government has fought back against accusations that it isn’t doing anything to combat global warming. In his speech, Energy Secretary Steven Chu criticized climate change deniers, highlighted inventions by US scientists and even quoted a Native American saying about saving the planet.

UN’s Ban in climate change plea as talks near close
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pleaded Tuesday with negotiators at the ongoing climate talks in Mexico to strike the best deal possible, even if it falls short of a comprehensive agreement. “Nature will not wait while we negotiate,” he said. “We need results now, results that curb global greenhouse emissions.” Google/The Associated Press (12/7)
US-China truce signals a spirit of compromise in Cancun climate talks
(Deutsch Welle) China has offered for the first time to submit its voluntary carbon emissions target to a binding UN resolution, buoying climate talks as environment ministers from around the globe arrive in Cancun.

Binding agreement is still far off at UN climate talks
Delegates at UN climate talks in Mexico are under pressure to reach some kind of binding agreement on the reporting and reduction of greenhouse gases as negotiations enter their final week. “We cannot leave Cancun empty-handed,” said the European Union’s top climate official. USA TODAY/The Associated Press (12/6) , Reuters (12/7)
The time for tough choices in Cancun
(Pembina Institute) As we explained in a Cancun backgrounder [external link] last month, observers of the UN climate talks came to Cancun with no expectations of agreeing to a full global climate deal here. Instead, Cancun has the task of laying the groundwork for a binding deal a year later, at the UN climate conference to be held in Durban, South Africa in December 2011.
… Although we won’t get everything we need in Cancun to tackle climate change, reaching agreement on some core elements — like creating a new global climate fund and agreeing on transparency for emission reduction efforts — would still represent an important stepping stone that countries can build on over the next year.
6 December

Canada among top climate-change culprits: report
Canada is the fourth worst out of 57 countries evaluated for their performances in helping halt climate change, according to a report released Monday.
Saudia Arabia, followed by Kazakhstan and Australia, respectively, are the worst performers in the sixth annual index released by the research organization Germanwatch at the United Nations’ climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico.
The Economist gives another (lighter) view of the Cancun conference: A view from the bus
Mexico climate talks are raising hopes for compromise

Governments of the world’s economic powerhouses are showing signs of potential compromise at the start of the second week of UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. The future of the Kyoto Protocol is perhaps foremost among the unresolved issues, which include a new fund to funnel aid to poor countries to help them cope with the consequences of climate change. BBC (12/6) , Bloomberg (12/4) , Reuters (12/6)
3 December
OECD Publishes Climate Finance Recommendations
(IISD News) OECD has released the document “Financing Climate Change Action and Boosting Technology Change” as part of a series summarizing the OECD’s climate-change related work, and making recommendations to UNFCCC COP 16.
The paper, in acknowledging the difficulties governments face in allocating financing to climate related issues in times of tight budgets, states that using market-based mechanisms can help ease this funding burden and steer investors towards low-carbon development. It says such mechanisms should be combined with increased public funding to research and development, and investments in “immature” renewable technologies, to give impetus and lower risk for private investors.
U.N. Climate Talks Struggle To Overhaul Carbon Trade
(Planet Ark) Countries differed sharply on Wednesday on the future of a $20 billion carbon market after 2012, casting doubt on any overhaul of the scheme at U.N. climate talks in Cancun.
No new emissions limits have been agreed after the first phase of the protocol ends in 2012, stifling investment in the offset scheme, experts told the November 29-December 10 climate talks.
Some market participants and countries want a formal, U.N. decision in Cancun to commit to proceed with the market after 2012, regardless of whether any new targets are agreed.
30 November
Old Rifts Mar U.N. Climate Talks On “Balanced Deal”
(Reuters/Planet Ark) After an opening day largely dominated by ceremony, almost 200 countries showed little sign of compromise on past demands that have brought deadlock since last year’s Copenhagen summit fell short of a binding U.N. climate treaty.
All sides stress that Cancun has to come up with a “balanced package,” a mantra that masks deep splits in strategy about how to curb greenhouse gas emissions and divide the responsibilities between rich and poor nations.
U.S. sets clear terms for Cancun summit
U.S. officials at the Cancun climate summit have adopted a firm stance on terms for any international deals to battle climate change, saying progress needs to be seen on a broad array of issues and that developing countries must agree to verifiable greenhouse-gas emission cuts. Observers fear the U.S. could walk out of the summit in protest if developing countries insist on placing focus primarily on climate finance, deforestation and technology transfers. The Guardian (London) (11/30)
Extreme heat will soon be norm: UN agency
The last decade confirmed scientific predictions from 20 years ago that temperatures will rise and storms will become more fierce — and those trends are likely to continue, said Ghassam Asrar, who heads the climate research centre at the World Meteorological Organization. The WMO was due on Wednesday to release details on the last decade’s global temperatures, which Asrar said were the warmest on record.
Climate talks seek small steps toward elusive deal
Climate-change talks began Monday in Cancun, Mexico, amid hopes that small steps could be taken toward larger, more binding global agreements on curbing greenhouse gases. Although policymakers appear to have given up on a deal over curbing carbon dioxide emissions, they are trying to reach agreement on cutting industrial chemicals, methane and soot. The New York Times (free registration) (11/29) , The Washington Post (11/30)
Climate talks in Cancun begin
Modest, consensus-driven measures are expected to emerge from the Cancun, Mexico, climate talks, kicking off today. Although some countries are pursuing individual and regional carbon-reduction plans, many see a UN framework as the only viable way to limit and remedy the effects of carbon emissions. The New York Times/Reuters (11/28) , BBC (11/29) , Slate (11/29)
UN climate chiefs warn of limited progress
(FT) UN is hoping to avoid the scenes of chaos and acrimony that marred the end of last year’s climate summit in Copenhagen, in order to keep the negotiating process moving, with the objective of signing a new treaty on global warming next year at a crunch meeting in South Africa
28 November
Green view: The shadow of climategate
(The Economist) A year on, the shadow of climategate, as it was unhelpfully but inevitably named, remains palpable. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger clearly had it in mind when he recently said “Last year we had a tremendous setback because some of the science and some of the numbers were manipulated and that is very damaging because it gives the other side a way in.” This is a climategate narrative that seems quite popular among many people who, like Schwarzenegger, remain committed to the need for action against global warming—and very popular among people who take the opposite view: that a significant chunk of science had been frankly fraudulent, and that the discovery of this fraud had had a very bad impact on the fight against global warming. Its popularity, though, does not make this story right. Climategate was not about the manipulation of numbers: and the setback for the green cause Mr Schwarzenegger espouses was not climategate, but Copenhagen.
New technologies may offset some climate-change costs

The costs associated with battling global warming will increase if the world fails to cap greenhouse-gas emissions, but developing technologies may help offset some of the increased expense, says Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Pachauri cited a drop in telephone bills in recent years
[we suppose that in the grand scheme of things this must be important] due to new communications technologies as an example, and predicted a shift away from fossil fuels would lead to less pollution and decreased health costs. (11/22) 
Optimism over resumption of UN climate talks

A high-ranking UN official believes there is a good chance that meaningful agreements can be reached among the 200 countries participating next week in climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. Accord already is near over issues such as forest protection, technology sharing and aid for developing countries. Reid Detchon, an energy expert with the UN Foundation, expects incremental change from the Cancun meeting. “I would not look for any major agreement. I would look toward small agreements for progress being made,” he said. Bloomberg
(11/22) , USA TODAY (11/23)  — we would guess that neither publication consulted the Canadian news:
Climate bill, Commons crushed in one blow

(Toronto Star) Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s defiant views on democracy and the environment have exploded together in one Parliament Hill uproar, as unelected Conservative senators killed a climate-change bill passed by a majority of elected MPs in the Commons.
19 November
China Rules Out Linking Climate Aid To Transparency

China said on Friday it will not agree to any deal tying climate change aid from rich nations to its acceptance of tighter international checks of its greenhouse gas emissions, which it said will grow for some time.
… The U.S., European Union and other governments want China, India and other big emerging economies to shoulder firmer international commitments to control and eventually cut their emissions, and to subject those emissions to tighter monitoring.
Huang said Beijing would not yield on what he said was China’s right to make economic growth an overriding priority
China articulates terms for Cancun agreements

China will not agree to a deal at the upcoming Cancun climate summit that ties climate-change aid to international checks on greenhouse-gas emissions levels, Chinese officials say. Negotiations on an international treaty to battle climate change continue to be hamstrung by a lack of trust between developed and developing countries and differences over the inclusion of mandated emissions caps.
16 November
Christiana Figueres Expects Equitable Progress at Cancun Summit

Bonn (ABC Live): The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres has emphasized for Workable and equitable progress in forthcoming global conference on climate change in Cancun.
The call to this effect was made by Ms Christiana Figueres in Bonn, Germany that, “Cancun will be a success, if parties compromise,” said the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).”
11 November
Climate Talks Seek Complex, Interlocked Deal: U.N.

U.N. climate talks starting in Mexico this month will seek a complex set of interlocking deals to slow global warming but will fall well short of a new treaty, the U.N.’s climate chief said on Wednesday.
4-9 October
United Nations Climate Change Conference October 2010, Tianjin, China
18 February
U.N. climate chief de Boer to quit in July
(Reuters) – U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said Thursday he will step down in July to join a consultancy group, saying a new era of diplomacy was starting after the Copenhagen summit fell short of agreeing a new treaty.
13 February
Brazil Has No National Policy
(IPS) – Brazil has no national strategy to fight pollution that contributes to global climate change, in spite of being part of the trio of developing countries, with China and India, that emit most greenhouse gases, experts and environmentalists complain.
Nor is it developing policies to help it face its vulnerability to climate change.
According to figures provided by Brazil to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the country emitted nearly 1.47 billion tons of gases which contribute to keeping the heat of the sun’s rays in the atmosphere, known as the greenhouse effect, in 1994, the last year for which figures were available.
24 January
After Copenhagen, Back to Basics for BASIC Bloc
(IPS) – As environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) prepared to meet in the Indian capital on Sunday to draw up a post-Copenhagen strategy, there were great expectations on the role they could play in pushing a consensus on how the world should go about dealing with climate change.
“The BASIC countries should push for a legally binding agreement on the two-degree Celsius limit in temperature rise that was driven by science and ensure that all other countries that were left out sign on before the [November] Mexico meet, according to a timetable,’’ said Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chief of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), speaking to reporters in the Indian capital on Saturday.
The Latin American country is hosting a key climate change conference toward the end of this year. Mexico had said it hoped to see a binding international agreement adopted by both rich and poor countries.
4 January 2010
Guest Contributors Cleo Paskal and Scott Savitt: How Copenhagen Has Changed Geopolitics: The Real Take-Home Message Is Not What You Think
(The New Security Beat) A fascinating and potentially game-changing geopolitical pas-de-deux unfolded in Copenhagen. The international media and punditocracy christened the United States and China the new G2 in reference to the expected preeminent leadership roles the two hold among their respective developed and developing country contingents. What increasingly became clear, however, was that a different G2 was influencing the agenda: China and India.

One Comment on "Copenhagen – the aftermath"

  1. Ona Marotte December 21, 2010 at 2:55 am ·

    Hey, I haven’t checked in here for a while, but I will put you on my bloglist so I don’t forget to check back.

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