09 March 2010

Now its South Africa 2011

Expectations are already being downplayed for the prospects of the international climate negotiations to be held later this year in Mexico:

The world will almost certainly fail to draw up a new treaty on climate change this year, the minister in charge of last year’s Copenhagen summit has admitted, delivering a heavy blow to the barely flickering hopes for a swift global ­settlement.

Connie Hedegaard, the Danish minister who masterminded the summit of world leaders on global warming last year and is now the European commissioner for climate change, told the Financial Times negotiations were not progressing fast enough for a treaty to be signed soon.

She also gave warning that pushing too hard for a treaty this year could be counterproductive.

“To get every detail set in the next nine months looks very difficult,” she said. “Europe would love that to happen, and I would love that to happen . . . but my feeling is that it is going to be very difficult to get a treaty.”

Her pessimism echoed that of the outgoing United Nations climate change chief, Yvo de Boer. He told the FT as he resigned last month after four years of seeking an agreement that he could not see a treaty being signed this year.

The admission also comes against the backdrop of a resurgence of climate change scepticism, fuelled by a series of mistakes made by scientists that have encouraged many politicians to oppose emissions regulation.

Governments had been hoping to forge a final treaty at a global conference this December in Mexico, after failing to do so in Copenhagen.

I suspect that this process of kicking the can down the road can continue more or less indefinitely.