As the U.S.,
Japan, China, UK, and other nations debate in advance of the
conference in December, there seems to be a clear consensus that
something needs to be done to address climate change. The key
issue though is what to do and how much to spend and on that topic
there appears little hope of reaching a consensus.
seem mostly likely to reach a "Goldilocks" solution
championed by the U.S. Such a solution would attempt to not be
drastic enough to cause resistance, but not weak enough to be
ineffectual -- in other words, it would aim for "just right".
In order to do this a series of interim steps in carbon control will
likely be rolled out.
Yvo De Boer, the Dutch diplomat who
leads the United Nations climate secretariat and oversees the
negotiations describes, "There isn’t sufficient time to get
the whole thing done. But I hope it will go well beyond simply
a declaration of principles. The form I would like it to take is the
groundwork for a ratifiable agreement next year."
thorny issue is the topic of poor and developing nations. While
it might be a bit of a pain for the U.S. to curb its carbon habit,
it's doable. However, for some poor nations they simply have no
means to turn away from polluting technologies such as coal or wood
burning. Representatives from the U.S., European Union, and the
16 other largest emitters met in London this week to iron out aid for
these poor nations to help them meet climate objectives.
According to officials the talks went quite well.
holdup, though is the U.S. Congress's inability to agree on global
warming legislation. Currently legislation that would set up a
trading scheme and binding targets for emissions is mired in
Congress and will likely not see passage until early next year --
after the international agreement will likely be ironed out.
The lack of a concrete plan from the U.S. cast doubt on the
Officials point out that the Kyoto Accord took four
years after the initial convention to iron out details -- and the
U.S. never was on board with that treaty. While there's much
uncertainty about the nature of the new agreement, it will likely
seek terms that will try to constrain warming to 2 degrees Celsius
above current levels. That way island nations and coastal
states will be protected against potentially catastrophic flooding
that some speculate a warming climate could create.