News & Media
News and Media
SEI researchers Richard Klein and Clarisse Kehler Siebert at SEI's stand in Cancún.
The 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16) opened yesterday in Cancún, Mexico, with dramatically lower attendance than at last year’s COP 15 in Copenhagen, and much-lower expectations.
Unlike last year, no one believes this two-week event will yield a comprehensive international deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, for multiple reasons, including the global financial crisis, as well as political changes in the United States that make serious U.S. commitments less feasible. President Barack Obama will not be attending, though two cabinet officials and a top White House adviser will each be here for one day.
Hot year, but not hot on the political agenda
The Third World Network says this year’s low expectations indicate “how low climate change has sunk in just a year in the world’s political agenda” – even as the climate problem has worsened, and 2010 is likely to beat 1998 as the hottest year on record.
New research, reported yesterday, also indicates that the chances of not exceeding a 2-degree Celsius temperature increase are now extremely low, while the chances of exceeding 4 degrees are rising. A new journal issue from The Royal Society offers multiple perspectives on why this is very, very bad.
Can progress still be made?
But not all is gloomy in Cancún. ECO, the non-governmental environmental group newsletter at COPs, says the talks could deliver “a substantial package of decisions that provides a clear framework for climate action.” Such a package would advance work toward a global agreement and press countries to go beyond their current “quite inadequate pledges and commitments.”
SEI researchers this week will be monitoring and participating in discussions on several crucial topics, including the adequacy of pledges and the need to close loopholes that could undermine them – an area in which SEI researcher Sivan Kartha has done considerable work – as well as climate adaptation financing, forestry, sustainable agriculture, the Clean Development Mechanism, and more.
For updates throughout the day, follow us on Twitter at @SEIclimate.
To see today’s daily conference programme, click here.