ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Complex Implications of the Cancun Climate Conference

When the dust settles after the Cancun climate change conference of the United Nations, a careful analysis will find that the adoption of the "Cancun Agreements" may have given the multilateral climate system a shot in the arm, but that the meeting also failed to save the planet from climate change and helped pass the burden of climate mitigation onto developing countries. Instead of being strengthened, the international climate regime was weakened by the now serious threat to close the legally binding and top-down Kyoto Protocol system and to replace it with a voluntary pledge system.

Kyoto Is Dead, Long Live Durban?

The Kyoto Protocol, with its crucial distinction between developed and developing countries, was critically wounded in Copenhagen and has virtually been buried at Cancun. It may be predicted with some confidence that the Kyoto Protocol will be replaced at the next climate change conference in Durban by a single framework for all categories of nations. Binding and stiff emission reduction targets for developed countries, decided on the basis of the science and the sustainable upper limit for atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, now appear set to be replaced by a bottom-up pledge-and-review process with potentially dangerous outcomes for global climate.
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