Poznan Climate Change Talks: The Global Results Are In
The U.N. Climate Talks in Poznan, Poland, that took place over the last two weeks, have come to an end and the results were positive for some countries and inconclusive for many others. Considering that the U.S., one of the more powerful nations attending the conference, is experiencing a government in transition, most of the definite global regulation will be held off till the summer in order to allow the Obama Administration a chance to outline their plans for alleviating Climate Change.
Despite the unfinished business, hallmark regulation goals in Mexico and the E.U. (the 20-20-20 deal) were finalized.
UN climate talks in Poland were edging towards a conclusion on Friday night, as ministers from 192 countries put the finishing touches to measures to fight global warming.
The talks in Poznan were expected to make progress on helping poor countries pay to cope with the effects of climate change, as well as launch formal negotiations on a treaty to succeed the Kyoto protocol.
Ed Miliband, energy and climate change secretary, said: "I'm more optimistic now then when I arrived here [in Poznan] that a deal is possible by the end of next year. It's not a done deal but I think it's do-able."
He said the talks had been given a boost with the news from Brussels yesterday that Europe had sealed a new target to cut carbon pollution 20-30% by 2020.
The Poznan talks have made no progress on deciding new global curbs on greenhouse gas pollution, which scientists say are needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. Officials said new targets would not be discussed until the summer, to give Barack Obama time to signal his intentions as US president.
So, with another set of UN climate talks slipping by with no new agreement on global warming, we analyse the chances of a new deal over the next 12 months, and the likely approaches of the key countries.
Now that the talks have concluded here is a summary of what went on.
The talks at Poznan, Poland, were never expected to make a significant breakthrough - the global deal is due to be settled in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. But even seasoned observers have been left downbeat by the lack of ambition. In a speech today, Al Gore claimed there had been "steady progress" but admitted it seemed "painfully slow".
On the key issue of carbon reduction targets, the main sticking point, the world is waiting for Barack Obama to make his intentions clear. Mexico announced plans at Poznan to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and the EU has suggested beefing up its own 2050 target, from 60-80% cuts to a possible 80-95%, but such long-term promises will make little impression.
The world's scientists say that serious carbon reductions must start in the next few years, so any new global deal must set targets for around 2020. Such short-term goals are much harder for nations, because they demand immediate change in specific policy rather than vague talk of future technology improvements. This difficulty was in evidence in Brussels yesterday, when EU states finally agreed how they would achieve a 20-30% cut by 2020, but only after much hard bargaining.
It's frustrating to see another stall in combating Climate Change, but it's important to realize that this issue will not be fixed overnight. The European Union 20-20-20 deal along with Mexico's projected goals, one of the developing countries targetted for aid in these talks, are definite steps in the right direction!
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