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Global action on climate sits on shelf

Canada
The Gazette
30/07/2010
Gerard Wynn

LONDON-International action on climate change looks set to drift for the next two years as politicians waver in the wake of the financial crisis, despite a new report that says the last three decades were the warmest on record.

Recession in industrialized countries has focused attention on the cost of cutting carbon emissions. And green efforts suffered a huge blow with the failure of UN negotiations to deliver a deal in Copenhagen in December.

Talks resume next week in Bonn, Germany, but a new draft text is as vague as ever on targets or a timetable to cut emissions.

“ I suspect that we’re in for a fairly long period of slowdown, you’re talking about a two to three years’ time frame before you restore the political momentum,” said Tom Burke of Imperial College London.

The global renewable energy market is expected to have a record year in 2010, thanks to existing support and subsidies, but a climate deal would boost investment above the current level of about $ 200 billion annually.

Global consensus would add pressure to introduce national carbon caps. The United States and Australia each confirmed last week legislative delays on industry carbon emissions caps.

“ Domestically, there is going to be ( U. S.) climate policy, in terms of congressional action it’s less likely,” said Harvard University’s Robert Stavins, referring to state regulations that will likely apply in lieu of a stalled climate bill.

The most likely scenario for approval of a bill could be if U. S. President Barack Obama wins a second term and the recession is well over, Stavins added.

The U. S. delay would come as a “ major disappointment” to governments and environmental groups, said Robert Watson, chief scientist at Britain’s environment ministry.

“ What signal does that send to other governments as they go into negotiations leading up to Cancun and beyond?” he asked, referring to the next major United Nations climate meeting in Mexico at the end of the year. The UN negotiations are meant to deliver a new deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol whose present round expires in 2012.

The negotiation doldrums are partly a failure of nerve.

“Governments have taken a look over the cliff and seen what’s really involved in getting to a carbon neutral energy system by 2050 and have thought: ‘ Whoops, do we really know how to do this?’ ” Burke said.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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