By John Vlahakis

Global climate talks seem to be moving in the right direction at the U.N. sponsored meeting in Cancun, Mexico. Entering week two of non- binding negotiations, 193 countries are trying to set carbon emission targets to keep the planet from heating up.  The conference in Cancun is the third attempt, after Kyoto and Copenhagen, to try to find a common ground for industrialized nations and developing ones to cut carbon emissions and to keep countries honest about their actions to control global warming.  The Cancun conference is trying to establish set timetable limits on cutting advanced countries CO2 emissions, while providing offsetting financial support to developing countries in protecting their forests and transferring green technologies to developing nations.  The conference is also trying to develop a review system for third party verification to ensure that nations comply with their signatory commitments.  There are basically three sticking points that the delegates are trying to resolve – whether industrial nations could agree to further emission cuts that go beyond the 1997 Kyoto Protocol – that funding begin to flow to poorer nations facing climate disasters – that western green technology be transferred over to developing nations.  One breakthrough that has come out of the Cancun talks is that China has agreed to allow other countries to review climate actions that received international financing. The Chinese went a step further and said all their operations, including fully domestic actions, would be open to international scrutiny.  The talks in Cancun are building off of the Kyoto Protocol where 37 nations and the European Union agreed to cut greenhouse gases by a total of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Those countries are on target to meet their obligations. Cancun has also seen the announced endorsement of 140 countries to the previous Copenhagen Accord, and 85 of them made specific pledges for reducing carbon emissions, or at least limiting their growth, by 2020.  The Cancun talks are entering their final week, and the buzz coming from Mexico is that the delegates will find a common ground to make these talks work for the planet.

Photo Credit: Reuters

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