After the hype and disappointment over Copenhagen, the climate change talks in Cancun were also going to be much lower profile – a gentle attempt to have some successful preparatory work and build up momentum ahead of the next round of talks. However, with the tuition fees vote this week, Chris Huhne’s presence at the talks got rather more publicity than usual. But what actually happened at the talks?
Three days of intensive talks involving Chris Huhne and others resulted in modest progress on a wide range of fronts.
Perhaps most significant was the willingness of many on both sides of the traditional developed / developing world divide to seek agreement, with the increasing impact of environmental damage in the developing world helping to provide an incentive for reaching an agreement that compliments the pressure of the often more vocal environmental campaign groups in the developed world.
Agreement was reached on setting three overall ambitions: hitting a peak of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees and setting a long-term global emissions reduction target for 2050. A Climate Change Fund is being established to help developing countries tackle and adapt to climate change alongside measures to speed up the spread of low-emissions technology to the developing world.
Overall, the international climate change regime is back on track after Copenhagen, even if it is moving rather slowly.
For more details about the talks, see this Reuters report.