Let’s dispense with the pithy intros and get straight to the news this morning:
The incomparable Kate Sheppard has a nice analysis this morning of the United States negotiators’ all-or-nothing approach to Cancun. U.S. negotiators have signaled that they do not want to move forward on a package unless there is a decision on how countries can verify emissions reductions. This issue basically boils down to the United States wanting guarantees that China is meeting the emissions targets it agreed to in Copenhagen and not wanting to move forward until that issue is put to rest.
However, developing countries and NGOs worry that this posture could scuttle deals that can be made on creating a global climate fund, establishing deforestation initiatives and a technology transfer program. U.S. negotiators are currently saying they do not want to move forward on these measures unless the transparency issue is resolved. (Mother Jones)
While few heads of state will be attending this year’s negotiations, The United States has announced it will send two cabinet secretaries and a senior environmental official to Cancun. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley will all be attending the negotiations next week. While the U.S. delegation offered scant details on the visit, the trio are expected to tout U.S. efforts to transition to a clean-energy economy, the administration’s efforts to preserve forests at home and abroad and efforts to lower the US government’s carbon footprint. (Washington Post)
What a difference a year makes … While the Obama Administration sends Cabinet officials, members of Congress on both sides of the climate change issue are studiously avoiding Cancun this year. Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Ed Markey have both been invited to attend, but have not committed to making the trip. Kerry says he’s hopeful progress can made in cancun but says he’s looking to 2012′s Rio Plus 20 summit as the “next moment” for international climate change negotiations. (New York Times/Climate Wire)
Japanese negotiators aren’t making any friends in Cancun after declaring they will not extend their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Abdulla Alsaidi, the chair of the group of 77 and China negotiating block says, “There will be no successful outcome for Cancun” if Japan sticks to its refusal to extend cuts under Kyoto. In the face of the intensifying rhetoric, Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said Japan had made similar statements in the past. She also noted that a clear decision on Kyoto’s fate was not expected to be taken in Cancun. (Reuters)
Finally, negotiators looking for reminders of what’s at stake in the climate change fight need look no further than their hotel windows. Intense hurricanes and sea level rise has eroded beaches in Cancun to the point where many hotels no longer have beach fronts at all. Instead, waves now lap up against hotel foundations and rocks. (AP)
(Image: Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat. Courtesy of Flickr user UN Climate Talks. Used under a creative commons license.)
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