Hopes are growing at the latest round of United Nations climate talks for an agreement that will put efforts to secure a new international deal to tackle global warming back on track.
The talks in Cancun, Mexico, are the latest attempt to make progress towards a new deal on tackling climate change, after last year’s meeting in Copenhagen failed amid chaotic scenes to secure a legally-binding treaty on cutting emissions.
Officials and government ministers are continuing to negotiate in a bid to make progress on emissions cuts, providing finance for poor countries to cope with climate change, tackling deforestation and finding ways to ensure countries are transparent about the actions they are taking.
The latest versions of the agreement being considered by negotiators were hailed by campaigners at Oxfam as breathing new life into the talks, while environmental charity WWF said they showed positive steps forward.
Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said: “If we can come out with texts built on these foundations, it will be helping to move on from Copenhagen and leave the ghost of Copenhagen behind.”
It had been expected that the Cancun talks would concentrate on issues where progress could be made, including providing finance for poor countries to cope with climate change and tackling deforestation.
But – as in Copenhagen – progress has been held up by the major stumbling block of what is to be done about the existing climate treaty, Kyoto protocol, and how major emitters such as the US and China should be included in a future deal.
Developing countries do not want to see Kyoto abandoned, as it legally commits rich nations to emissions cuts – does not include major emitters such as the US and China, leaving other countries keen to see them involved in a similarly binding deal.
Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said that although the talks were as “variable as the British weather”, there was a real chance of a deal which could take the world substantially on from Copenhagen and would have good things in it.
“We’re in a much better position than we were in Copenhagen at this stage in the game but there’s potentially nothing to stop one or more countries having a hissy fit or throwing their toys out of the pram.”