NZ Herald: Power plays threaten climate summit

In an opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald, Brian Fallow writes about COP16, the latest international climate change talks, which are currently taking place in Cancun, Mexico.

Unlike COP15, the heavily-publicised but ultimately ill-fated talks in Copenhagen last year, this year’s talks are a far quieter affair, and it isn’t expected that any major deals on emissions reductions will be made.  Instead, the talks will focus on smaller issues such as deforestation, clean tech transfer and financial aid for developing countries.

Fallow looks at the expectations for the talks, and their relation to the Kyoto Protocol.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Expectations of the global gathering now under way in Cancun, Mexico, are so low that it will be deemed a success if it manages to avoid the acrimonious shambles of the last one in Copenhagen a year ago.

“Adrian Macey, who until earlier this year was New Zealand’s climate change ambassador, is the vice-chairman of the Kyoto Protocol part of the global talks.

“He says that while no one expects a new climate treaty to emerge at Cancun it can constitute a stepping stone to such an agreement, though not necessarily by the next meeting in Durban, South Africa, a year from now. Copenhagen, for all its shortcomings, provided at least a first glimpse of what such a deal could look like: from developed countries, big money for a climate fund and a reaffirmation of commitments to reduce emissions, in exchange for developing countries’ meaningful and transparent actions to restrain the growth in theirs.

“The future of Kyoto is a delicate issue, Macey says. Developing countries, in particular, see Kyoto and the commitments under it as the only concrete actions so far by the international community to address climate change and want it to continue.”