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Published on April 16th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer


Earth Day Could Bring New Shoots for Cancun Climate Summit

Seventeen countries that together account for about 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions will meet in Washington on April 18 and 19th to cover emissions targets and climate adaptation financing.

The mini climate summit will be held at the White House, the US Climate Envoy to the UN Todd Stern announced over the weekend. Stern hopes the 17 major economies can conclude text on mitigation, transparency,  financing, technology, forests and adaptation.

The critical work of implementation of the Copenhagen Accord is to take place in Cancun in November. While the UN process goes forward to the meeting in November, it is essential to do some preliminary work in advance.
This opportunity for top level leaders to meet earlier is in response to a request by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton  that more face time between top level leaders is needed earlier in the global climate agreement process. Copenhagen relied too much on lower level negotiations until literally the last four hours, when the US crashed a meeting between top level leaders of China and Brazil and they hammered out the Copenhagen Accord.

At Copenhagen last year, it was the major (BASIC) emitters, Brazil, America, South Africa, India and China  who finalized the agreement that has now been endorsed by more than 122 nations. By contrast, Kyoto was initially hampered by being a limited agreement with the major emitters abstaining.

April 18th is coincidentally also right around the (latest announced) time of the unveiling of the much heralded new climate and energy bill by Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman, which aims to achieve the goals of the original climate bill that was voted out of committee last November, yet not (unlike that one) awaken the opposition: a tall order.

The world needs to see that the US can pass climate legislation in the Senate, supporting its offer of 17% greenhouse gas reductions by 2020/ 80% by 2050. The timing of this meeting would seem to be putting pressure on the Senate to move on climate legislation that has been simmering too long on the back burner.

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