UNFCCC Intensifying Climate Change Negotiations for 2010

On Sunday April 11, 2010, the first climate change talks since COP15 concluded in Bonn, Germany with the intention of intensifying  negotiations. Intensifying their efforts has resulted in governments having decided to add two more climate change conferences to the calendar year, each with a minimum duration of one week. These conferences will occur sometime between the 32nd session of the UNFCCC Convention (May 31, 2010 to June 11, 2010 ) up until COP16 in Cancun, Mexico (November 29 to December 10).

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer's commentary at the recently ended Bonn climate conference: "At this meeting in Bonn, I have generally seen a strong desire to make progress... However, whilst more meeting time is important, it is itself not a recipe for success," he cautioned. "We need to decide what can be agreed at the end of this year in Cancún and what can be put off until later." Regarding COP16: "The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún must do what Copenhagen did not achieve: It must finalize a functioning architecture for implementation that launches global climate action, across the board, especially in developing nations." He described key goals that are necessary and remain a major dividing issue between developing and developed nations: "Specifically, negotiations this year need to conclude on mitigation targets and action, a package on adaptation, a new technology mechanism, financial arrangements, ways to deal with deforestation, and a capacity-building framework," he said.

The first international meeting of the year for the climate change, in Bonn Germany was help from April 9th to the 11th and was attended by more than 1700 delegates from 175 countries. This time around, US President Barack Obama was not present, however a document left in a hotel computer and obtained by the UK's Guardian news network supposedly reveals the US strategy toward climate change negotiations. The Guardian's John Vidal interprets one sentence of the document to describe the US climate change negotiation strategy: hardball. That is to say the US will be unlikely to change its stance on the Copenhagen Accord, the document being the final result of the December 2009 Copenhagen negotiations. The Copenhagen Accord was reluctantly signed by many, and some marked it a failure - indeed, it lacked mitigation targets and action plans, both necessary goals mentioned by Yvo de Boer.

Political negotiations are basically large compromises between nations. A politically savvy friend of mine once told me that "When people compromise, no one's happy." I would disagree for the case of climate change - because when people compromise for a climate change agreement, everyone wins. Mentioned before, governments need a long term vision, much like businesses, but they do not need more time to sit and yell and point fingers. They must let go of the perfect solution if they are to tackle climate change before it is out of reach to solve. Let's hope that the increased number of UNFCCC climate change negotiations will bring about some good work in 2010.

Photo Credit: Jonas_K