With Kyoto set to die unless the international community agrees to another scheme, South Africa will host the latest round of climate negotiations.
It’s October, so the annual round of UN climate talks must be close. This year it’s the turn of Durban, where negotiators, campaigners and journalists will soon be headed, though probably not in the numbers that swamped Copenhagen in 2009 – or even Cancun last year. Can the South Africans succeed where the Danes and the Mexicans didn’t?
A year ago the cynics were saying that South Africa saw the meeting more as a chance to attract tourists than as a serious negotiating round. But COP-17 (the seventeenth conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) will concentrate minds.
With the world economy in the dumps, “climate change action” just isn’t as fashionable as it used to be. Of course, the US never signed the original deal.
The US has refused to ratify the Protocol, saying it won’t accept constraints that do not apply to the world’s other principal greenhouse polluter, China. And China, like other developing countries, is exempt from Kyoto’s provisions.
The chance of getting these delegates and beuaracrats to agree to anything substantial is remote. Meanwhile, Australia is pushing on with this carbon tax.