Apologies for the late posting today, but it could not be helped. Let’s get straight to the news…
ClimateWire (via The New York Times) has an excellent set-up piece for the second week of the COP, detailing last week’s highlights – which was overshadowed by talk of the Kyoto Protocol — and outlining the major issues for the second week. These include the release of a 33-page text proposed by the conference chair which would see all countries agreeing to “hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” However, the text includes a series of options that leave a wide area of debate.
ClimateWire also notes the near tranquil tone of this year’s proceedings compared to the chaos that was Copenhagen. (Climate Wire/The New York Times)
Andy Revkin dives into one of the more interesting points of the negotiations — the “non-papers” drafted by groups of countries to set up the final week of negotiations. Revkin notes that this process always leads to speculation about back-room deals. For example, Copenhagen saw an uproar over a secret “Danish text” and this year there have been accusations of a “secret Mexican text” that would “end efforts to create new binding emissions restrictions to replace those that expire in 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol.”
Christiana Figueres, the UN head of the climate change negotiations quickly moved to squash those rumors. As she did, she went to great lengths to continue to ratchet down expectations for Cancun. “Nothing is going to be highly ambitious. Nothing,” she said. “Everything here is going to be one step, and everything is going to be insufficient. But it is the best that this group of people in these circumstances, with these political constraints, in this economic environment, can do for the time being.” (Dot Earth, The New York Times)
Sir Richard Branson, a man who needs no introduction, pens an article for the Guardian today, touting the role of business in the climate change fight. Saying that, “legislation and public policy will only shape the market, it will not deliver solutions,” Branson unveils a new rating systems for global shipping devised by his NGO Carbon War Room. The rating system will give ships an A to G rating and allow companies to choose the most efficient ships for their shipping needs and tout the efficiency of those ships. Shipping is a surprisingly large emitter of greenhouse gases, Branson notes. If the global shipping fleet were a country, it would be the sixth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after Germany. (Guardian)
Speaking of business, Katie Fehrenbacher of Gigaom’s Earth2Tech says that despite the generally negative tone in Cancun, there continues to be optimism within the Greentech industry. She notes several high-profile business side-events at the COP as signs of optimism and engagement. China, she notes is especially aggressive in this arena, “investing an unprecedented amount into clean power, smart grid and electric vehicle technology, taking advantage of its swiftly growing economy.” (Gigaom Earth2Tech)
Do climate change stunts work? That’s the questions David Kroodsma of Hub Culture asks in an interesting piece on 350.org. Kroodsma sat down with Bill McKibben, the undisputed king of the climate change stunt to find out what the stunts are all about. The answer, of course is building awareness and building a movement. McKibben tells Kroodsman that the climate change movement simply isn’t big enough to win yet and stunts are necessary to boost those numbers. (The Huffington Post)
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