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What Will the Cancu n Conference Bring?


Text by Su Wei

Cancun, Mexico, will host the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference from November 29 to December 10.

What progress has been made in terms of international climate negotiations since last year’s meeting? What is at the heart of the dispute between developed and developing countries? From China’s perspective, what will the Cancun conference achieve?

Su Wei, director of the Department of Climate Change under the China National Development and Reform Commission, who has represented China at the series of international climate negotiations since 1989, revealed the answers of such pressing questions.   

Climate change is a major human challenge of the 21st century, and combating it requires joint efforts and cooperation from every country in the world. Over the past two decades, the international community has been working hard to devise a fair, rational way to control greenhouse gases and limit climate change. So far, three important steps have been taken in the form of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, and the Bali Roadmap.

Pre-Cancun Climate Talks

Last year’s UN Climate Change Conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in a global spotlight. The conference culminated with some encouraging progress such as the Copenhagen Accord, but it is not legally binding and does not endorse an international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2012. So, the proposed protocol of Cancun’s meeting is even more important in making further advancements in the fight against climate change.

To ensure positive progress is made in Cancun, delegates to the UNFCCC agreed to increase pre-Cancun climate talks from two to five. Bonn, Germany, hosted the first three meetings in March, June and August, respectively. The fourth talk was held in Tianjin, China, from October 4 to 9.

Some progress was made at those international talks. Already, both the UNFCCC Working Group and the Kyoto Protocol Working Group finished drafting documents for further discussion and debate. But, there is still a tremendous dispute between developed and developing countries relating to their respective responsibilities in addressing climate change.

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