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Products of Bangkok – CAN Review

10/13/09

~ Amy Richmond, Indiana US

After two weeks of negotiations, two weeks of formalities, perhaps two weeks of effort (?), we all are, or at least I am, wondering what exactly came out of the UNFCCC Climate Conference in Bangkok. CAN (Climate Action Network) provided a brief, comprehensive overview of the progress made and the issues yet to be resolved in their Oct. 9th press conference. Here are the main points: Text has been consolidated; however, the actual number of pages has not yet been revealed. On a more detrimental note, many conflicts have arisen, particularly between developed and developing countries. These include the issue of common responsibility vs. historical responsibility, whether the KP should be sustained or discarded after 2012, and the fact that more developing countries presented targets for reduction than developed countries. While it is discouraging to see these issues, one spokesperson for WWF mentioned that it is, at least, positive that these issues were initially brought to the table in Bangkok rather than in Copenhagen.

Two additional panelists, representing the EU and US both evaluated their association’s/country’s progress. The most prominent statement issued was concerning whether the EU and US were attempting to “kill” Kyoto. In response to this, the EU representative Tove Ryding asserted that only countries that ratified Kyoto can “kill” the protocol, thereby emphasizing that the US has no direct influence upon the matter of the protocol’s existence after 2012. Alden Meyer, representing the US, stressed the “fierce battle” being waged by the energy corporations in America as the main reason for Obama’s slow progress.

Although progress has been made, there are, in my opinion, still too many unresolved issues and divisions between nations to bring to the table in Copenhagen in order to find an effective solution. Will the scant five days of negotiation in Barcelona later this year be sufficient?

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