Cancún gets under way

The annual meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) is now under way in Cancún from 29 November to 10 December.

When we last looked at Cancún alexinbologna explained that in 2007 in Bali countries agreed to two paths, firstly, negotiating a further commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and secondly, to negotiate ‘longterm cooperative action’ (LCA). The chances of the first of these getting up in Cancún approach zero. The best that could be achieved is to position talks to achieve an agreement in Durban at the next COP in December 2011.

Since Copenhagen some 140 countries have associated themselves with the Copenhagen Accord and 85 of these have made commitments to reduce or limit the growth of their emissions up to 2020. There may be a tendency to regard this as replacing a binding commitment, but we should remember that the Copenhagen Accord was only formally noted by the meeting in Copenhagen not agreed to. Some countries, for example the ALBA group and AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), will see this as the developed countries avoiding their responsibilities. Rather than allowing developed countries to do whatever suits them these countries want legally binding progress towards deep cuts.

LCA covers a multitude of issues. There will be a tendency to concentrate on those issues where there is a prospect of agreement. Nick Robins in an article Cancun: Cancan or Cancan’t? identifies some:

We believe that interim decisions could be reached on:

– Establishing an Adaptation Framework for developing countries.

– Introducing a Technology Mechanism involving a network of innovation centres to promote clean technology deployment.

– Agreeing overarching policies for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initially through public financing for national plans in tropical nations

– Launching a new Climate Fund – initially named the ‘Copenhagen Green Climate Fund’ in the Accord.

The rest of Robins article is worth reading and constitutes perhaps the best single introduction to the talks. He says the “Cancun is being positioned as a procedural stepping stone to the next set of negotiations in Durban”, but suggests that conditions for getting a deal could then be actually worse.

The piece by Greg Picker & Fergus Green Cancun: Same game, new rules, also in the Climate Spectator is well worth a look.

There is also Fred Pearce in the New Scientist, Lucy Brinicombe in The Guardian Blog and the AFP.

The UN will try to emphasise the gravity and urgency of climate change. The UNEP, according to Reuters finds that the Copenhagen Accord commitments will leave at least a 5gt emissions gap.

A new report gives the metrics.

Business as usual will see CO2e emissions of 56gt by 2020.

If the 85 countries commiting under the Accord fully honour their commitments at the highest level of ambition and with strict accountability, emissions will be 49gt.

In order to give a “likely chance” of remaining within the 2C guard rail, emissions need to be 44gt and reduce steeply each year from there.

The report website is here.

Some of the developing countries will seek to negotiate 2C down to 1.5C. I wish them luck.

Just in: David Cameron refuses to attend despite a direct appeal by the Mexican chair of the conference. Some 20 leaders are expected to show, mainly from Latin America, but also including the small island states subject to inundation with sea level rise.


Scientists: ‘world should press on without US in climate change deal’

Climate change talks: escaping Copenhagen’s shadow

14 thoughts on “Cancún gets under way”

  1. It is almpst worth drinking the cool-aid just to get on the gravy train – Bali, Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban . . . and it is morally supported CO2 emmissions to get there!

  2. Razor you missed Poznan in Poland in 2008 and all the meetings in between. Still 22,000 in Cancun is a lot of emissions, it must be said.

  3. I enjoyed this tweet:

    “Hoping this is not a metaphor for outcome RT @billmckibben: The first report from NGOs in Cancun: 2 hour bus jams getting to the conference” – @djspratt

  4. kuke, I know that the WTO conference in Cancun in 2003 was on a peninsula with a narrow kneck. Back then they built a huge fence to keep the riff raff out. My memory is that between the farmers and the black blockers they pushed the fence over and a Korean farmer famously committed suicide on the fence.

    I get the impression the place isn’t built for the mass movement of people, but I don’t have any local knowledge.

  5. @2 – I have friends who come from Poland and go back all the time. They quite like it now that it isn’t a Warsaw Pact Country.

  6. Yes Huggy, they are zombies and as such less relevant geopolitically minute by minute. We are witnessing the decomposing of what was once a great nation. But don’t worry the corporations have found new hosts to suck blood.

    Meanwhile how can we fix the runaway co2, methane, Ocean acidification et al with carbon emission reduction, while human population and market economies still grow on ecological, and probably otherwise, unsustainable rates. We still have jokers like the Pope and his fanbots running around trying to preserve life (it seems only particular ones) and more and more funny money gets printed and shuffled around to feed the monetary black holes.

    Well, the fuse is lit. Some argue it is only a dummy bomb, some argue others should do some thing, while those who have been voted to do something have conferences producing more hot air. It is a bit like having been diagnosed with a potential lethal cancer, everyone deals with it their own way. We are humans after all.

  7. OOtz,
    Perhaps I should have said their politicians are the dumbest.
    The problem seems to be that only the dumbest of the dumb get elected (might have to include Barack here if he does not lift his game). Then a patriotic fervour takes over and they all shout about how great the US is while it rots around them.
    Maybe the prospect of Sarah Palin as president will bring them to their senses.

  8. HuggybBunny: The prospect of an underachieving hollowman with no executive experience and dodgy associates didn’t worry them, so I doubt the american public are going to be kept up at nights by the thought of a kickass with a record of overthrowing the old guard is going to keep the american public. To be consistend they shouldn’t be.

  9. Apparently attendance is way down on Copenhagen, but much further to fly for most of the carboncrats. So at least they have probably set a new avgas record.

  10. And they are learning too. Somewhere sunny & beachy in the “Global South”. No more Denmark in November for the IPCC

  11. Thanks, Kevin.

    Australia is taking a low level of ambition to Cancun – 5% cuts by 2020. Greg Combet says we will only go to 10 to 15% if there is definite action by other countries. He says there hasn’t been.

    Christine Milne says 5% is “worthless”.

    CHRISTINE MILNE: This is especially so since we now discover that the Government’s own advice is that at Copenhagen we should have been going for a much more ambitious target – 10 or 15 per cent. And subsequent to Copenhagen the Chinese have done enough to warrant Australia moving to a 25 per cent in a direct comparison. So time to lift our game.

  12. I believe that Cancun is lovely at this time of year.

    Pleasently warm with just enough rain to make the whole thing seem pointless.

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