While there is plenty of material around on the web, I have found Giles Parkinson at Climate Spectator particularly helpful. A pity, therefore, that he was sufficiently distracted on Friday not to do a post after the conference session. Nevertheless Thursday’s post provides a good summary of what is at play. He summarises progress on the so-called six-pack of issues thus:
Four of the so-called six-pack of agreements appear within reach – financing, adaptation, forests, and technology – although there are still hurdles to overcome, such as whether a green fund should be managed by the UN or an outside body. The two most difficult – mitigation (effectively locking in the pledges made since Copenhagen) and transparency – remain a challenge. The head of one of the key working groups told NGOs today that there remained “a big gap” on mitigation.
But here’s the problem:
the developed economies won’t agree to adaptation, forests and technology, unless one or both of the latter two are agreed to by developing economies. China won’t agree to anything unless it gets technology. The US appears to believe that it is all or nothing.
Then in terms of the science the vulnerable states want the temperature rise limited to 1.5C. Since we are currently around 0.8C above pre-industrial and there is probably 0.6C inertia in the system we need to get serious pronto. President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives understands that developing countries need to bypass fossil fuel-based development.
The UNEP has reminded the gathering about the need to remember the state of the oceans.
The EU has emphasised the emissions gap inherent in current commitments, as noted here. They say they are on track to exceed their Kyoto commitments.
Then you can read about the Fossil of the Day awards, which we figured in on Wednesday.
Peter Wood at Climate Dilemma details the establishment of a “contact group” (= working group) on the legal protocols for a new treaty, something that was rejected in Copenhagen. Perhaps of most interest was the attitude of China which accepted that the “final outcome should be a legally binding outcome”. Only they don’t seem to want it right now.
In fact China is moving towards a leadership position with direct action aplenty, but significantly now considering a carbon tax or a cap and trade system.
Climate Progress details how they are building a clean energy work force.
India is moving to be a bridge player between the developed and the developing world.
Peter Wood posted on Thursday also, but you can see how difficult the whole business of a legal agreement will be when Todd Stern of the US showed up early on Friday. The ministers are not due until Tuesday. Seems there is a Kyoto Protocol track of 193 countries and a UNFCCC track of 194 countries, the extra one being the US of A.
Essentially the developing countries don’t want to sign up to anything unless there is a legally binding Kyoto extension. The developed countries need to show good faith and accept their responsibility. The USA wants to replace Kyoto with the Copenhagen Accord, presumably because it would be less onerous to them. American climate deniers and the American fossil fuel industry cast a long shadow.
The EU is the biggest Kyoto champion and it seems the ALBA countries will absolutely insist on it. Plenty of work there for India.
The Guardian also picked up on the story with this pic:
Looks pretty neat. Wonder how many takes to get that shot.
Peter Wood expressed cautious optimism and I guess that’s still the go. No-one expected that little difference to be resolved any time soon.
Climate Progress has just put up two further posts on Cancun:
Nothing [here] is going to be highly ambitious. Nothing. Everything here is going to be one step, and everything is going to be insufficient.
The most recent thread specifically on Cancún is here.