UNFCCC Conference Post-Mortem

The 11,000 participants and negotiators involved in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting have left in Poznan, Poland, without much progress towards a new agreement that can replace the Kyoto Protocol.

According to The Economist, the promising developments were limited to:

  • The launch of an USD 80 million Adaptation Fund, which channels funds from developed to developing countries, to support the development and implementation of climate change policies.
  • Forest conservation and management is now viewed as a legitimate strategy for limiting carbon emissions. There was discussion of creating financial incentives for the preservation of forests — money for keeping trees.
  • Mexico unilaterally agreed to halve its carbon emissions levels by 2050
  • Brazil said it would cut the rate of deforestation by 70% over the next decade. (Also, Peru said it would cut its deforestation rate to zero).
  • The European Union re-iterated its 20-20-20 pledge, despite calls  from new EU countries to scale back the targets, and concerns about the negative effect of these targets on economic growth in the Euro zone. (The EU 20-20-20 pledge includes: cutting overall emissions levels, with 1990 as the benchmark, by 20%; obtaining 20% of its energy from renewable energy sources, like wind, solar, waves and biomass; and making 20% efficiency savings through green buildings, and more efficient cars).

Few negotiators seemed confident that an agreement can be negotiated in time for the December 2009 deadline. But some are arguing that the initial deadline was too optimistic to begin with, and progress may speed up with the involvement of the Obama administration.

Read the full article

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