The “deals” struck at Copenhagen do not amount to a new legally binding agreement that replaces the Kyoto Protocol. The goal is to have a legal agreement in place after the upcoming international meeting in Mexico. What was newly agreed was to keep an average temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius, a commitment by countries to list their emission reduction targets, and a financial commitment by the United States. The United Nations is choosing to view Copenhagen as an agreement rather than a legally binding treaty. And remember, the United States never signed Kyoto.
What do you think the chance is that we will actually get something set in stone in Mexico?
My uneducated (somewhat!) guess is that if the economy continues improving, then the chances are good that we can get something set legally. We have a strong Democratic leader in the White House who wants to see progress made on climate change, and if the health care issue can get settled, as well, then things look promising. Getting China and India on board is always an issue, but with a dollar commitment from the US to help some of the other developing countries they may feel less pressure. Unfortunately this issue may follow the general pattern of most: initially intense interest/concern followed by a growing disinterest and boredom and eventual switch to something new. Keep your fingers crossed….
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