Tag Archives: Copenhagen

Cancun 2010: The phoenix that will rise from the ashes of Copenhagen?

20 Oct

Written By: Jon Ehrenfeld, Senior Correspondent

Editor: Suzanne Kelly-Lyall, Deputy Director PISA

The COP-16 conference, slated for November 29th in Cancun, Mexico, seems to be raising fewer hopes than the last round, likely because of the widely publicized and underwhelming results of COP-15. Policy makers on both sides of the Pacific can reasonably ask what can be expect from this next round of negotiations?  Will we see progressive action from the bloc of Asian nations that allied themselves with China in Copenhagen? Or have events in the last year given rise to a new approach to climate negotiations?

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Free Trade: Obstacle to Emissions Regimes?

10 Dec

As Copenhagen kicks off to muted expectations and a pervasive pessimism over its likelihood to achieve a binding treaty, the United States finds itself in a paradoxical situation. For over two decades successive U.S. presidents and policymakers have steadily expanded the concept and application of free trade with allies near and far. Free trade agreements in force or awaiting ratification cover much of the Western hemisphere and countries throughout the Middle East, Asia and Australia.  Whether their rationale was American competitiveness or foreign development, these agreements now pose a significant obstacle to U.S. climate change efforts.

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A Gentleman’s Agreement: US and Chinese Emissions Promises

7 Dec

In the past two weeks the United States and China have released separate plans for reducing their carbon emissions. Despite the fanfare that greeted the announcements, serious doubts have already been voiced about the combined effort. Put simply, is it going to be enough? Already worrying signs abound that these plans are too little, too late.

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Government vs. Grassroots

1 Dec

The jarring disconnect between government action on climate change and grassroots support for meaningful action has spread rapidly from the United States to Asia. The past month has seen a wave of ministers and spokespeople hastening to emphasize that their country will not commit to any binding resolutions at Copenhagen. Most recently, the 19 leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation stated that Copenhagen was too soon to reach any agreement on emissions.

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The ASEAN Stance at Copenhagen

5 Nov

This week the ten ASEAN member states released a joint statement on climate change during the 15th ASEAN summit. Beyond the standard boilerplate, it’s clear that ASEAN and its constituent states are preparing for an aggressive negotiation at Copenhagen—a move that aligns it heavily with China, but less so with its citizens. While nominally voicing support for the outgoing Kyoto Protocol and for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), one phrase in particular sums up its approach: “in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” Although this position is not a new one, it is an indication that ASEAN is unlikely to show flexibility in its insistence that developed nations “take the lead” in reducing emissions. Whether the approval of ASEAN’s neighbor to the north is worth popular outrage remains to be seen.

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Beyond the Hotspot – What Vietnam Can Teach Us About Biodiversity

16 Sep
Central Annamites Mountains, courtesy of Indochina Legend

Central Annamites Mountains, courtesy of Indochina Legend

Biodiversity hotspots, according to Conservation International, are, “the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth.” These islands of natural abundance cover less than 3% of the Earth’s surface yet host a stunning array of plant and animal life. Imperiled by the twin threats of habitat loss and climate change, hotspots may be ground zero for the jump in extinctions that is widely believed to be looming.  Amid the busy schedule of upcoming summits such as COP-15, the best hope for prioritizing the preservation of biodiversity may hinge upon adoption of a more pragmatic approach to negotiation.  Stressing the favorable impact of forested land on reducing temperatures and providing food and economic security to the broader community, may prove a more persuasive argument than preservation for the sake of exotic plant and animal life.

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COP 15 – Shifting Perceptions of Global Power

3 Sep

As the COP-15 meetings draw closer, some observers note that at the end of the day, measureable progress will hinge on the cooperation of two nations – China and the United States. The two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, these powerhouses will ultimately decide the extent of the forward progress made in Copenhagen. Regardless of how desirable it is for two countries to monopolize the debate to such an extent, it is clear that the situation is very much a double-edged sword for climate negotiators.

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