Low Expectations for Climate Talks

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This year’s round of negotiations through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) kicks off next Monday in Cancun. I’ll have more on what to expect there in a piece tomorrow and will be reporting from Cancun. Last year, world leaders headed to talks in Copenhagen with the hope of producing a new global treaty. That didn’t happen, though they did emerge with a non-binding political accord whose fate is still unclear. Now negotiators will decide what comes next.

US climate envoy Todd Stern briefed the foreign press on what to expect on Monday. “It is now widely understood that a legal treaty this year is not in the cards,” said Stern. He emphasized a need to reach agreement on some key components of a deal, rather than on forcing a decision on the total package. “None of this would preclude or prejudge an eventual legal treaty when the time is right, but our view is that we should be making concrete progress now.”

His full remarks are here. An excerpt:

The challenge, I think, before us in Cancun and the one that we have been, frankly, focused on all year is to find a way to build on the progress made last year in the Copenhagen Accord through the direct intervention of many of the world’s leaders, including President Obama. Even though it fell short of what many had hoped for, the accord took an important step forward in addressing climate change. Progress was made on all the key elements of the negotiations, and much of it in direct, face-to-face discussions among our leaders.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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