Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is certainly no optimist about what will be achieved later this year at the Copenhagen conference. On Tuesday he told theFinancial Times of London that he did not think a fully fledged international treaty was going to happen. “If you look at the limited amount of time remaining to Copenhagen, it’s clear,” Mr de Boer said.
The principal problem remains the difficulty in getting the United States Congress to agree on a position to reduce CO2 emissions. The odds are against legislation being passed this year and there are not many countries that will commit themselves if the US does not. The word of President Barack Obama will not be sufficient as other leaders remember what happened at Kyoto.
Not far behind as a problem is the question of who is going to pay how much to compensate the developing countries for taking part in a scheme that will affect their economic prospects. I have not heard a peep from our climate change negotiators about how much Australia is prepared to contribute and in the European community the poorer nations are beginning to protest about them having to make a contribution.