The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate talks started this Monday, October 4 and will continue until this Saturday, October 9. This week of high-level meetings among representatives from about 200 countries is extremely important and could "make or break" the upcoming COP16 climate summit in Cancun in December, according to tcktcktck, a climate change global alliance.
The representatives are meeting to discuss questions such as: “Will billions of dollars of aid pledged in the Copenhagen Accord be honored? Will China, the world’s biggest polluter, step forward as an unlikely climate hero? Will the multiple "gigatonne gap" between safe levels of atmospheric CO2 and pledged reductions finally be acknowledged?”
It’s almost been a year since Copenhagen, notes a recent ABC article. During this period, we’ve seen both the physical and political impacts of climate change, as environmental disasters around the world have been accompanied by a range of significant political shifts.
The political outcomes on climate, however, have been mixed. President Obama failed to get climate legislation through the US senate, despite a sharp increase in renewable energy investment globally, including most notably in China. Australia has a new Prime Minister, a new Minister for Climate Change, a new Climate Change Committee, as well as a renewed call to set a price on carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, at the grassroots level, commentators have observed a growing sense of urgency across the world on climate change – people are now prepared to take real action.
So, what’s the bottom line? “There has been progress since Copenhagen. Perhaps not as far as many would have liked. But we’ve moved forward,” says the ABC article. “Further, the ingredients are there for strong international action. Tianjin is an opportunity to pick up the UN process and take steps towards the treaty that is needed.”