COP16 just a ‘stepping stone’ for future meetings

United Nation's climate change talks get underway in Cancun today (November 29) with even the most optimistic observers hoping only that the talks will be a 'stepping stone' for future events.

COP 16 is the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) which takes place in Cancun from 29 November to 10 December.

Delegates from 190 countries also hope COP16, in the Mexican resort, will build on the Copenhagen Accord and establish a platform for future COP meetings.

Speaking this morning British climate change and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, tried to be upbeat.

He said: “We won’t get a full binding deal in Cancun, but people and businesses around the world will be watching and expecting to see us prepare the ground.

“This means making progress on issues such as financial assistance to help developing countries deal with climate change, tackling deforestation, bringing the promises made in the Copenhagen Accord into the formal UN process.

“And agreeing a system to make sure countries live up to their commitments to take action on emissions.”

In a white paper published before the start of the talks independent market analyst claimed it was ‘less likely’ that a binding agreement on climate change will be reached this year than it was last year at COP15.

Datamonitor analyst and author of the white paper, Alex Desbarres, said: “All eyes are on the Cancun climate talks to help deliver the meaningful outcome that failed to materialize at Copenhagen.

“However, in reality, expectations for the meeting are not high and a binding deal seems very unlikely.”

According to Mr Desbarres, the conference will act as a stepping stone to further negotiations at COP17.

He said: “It should be judged a success not based on its ability to deliver a global treaty that is cohesive, comprehensive, and legally-binding or indeed the promise of such a treaty.

“But instead on the progress in a few key areas, namely carbon financing, deforestation, green taxation, carbon trading, and emissions targets.”

Luke Walsh

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