Copenhagen Climate Summit Update

The United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen is just weeks away and international negotiations and maneuverings continue in an effort to reach agreement on a new climate change treaty by the December deadline. 

Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters on Tuesday that he is "more confident" than before that an agreement will be reached. He attributed this in part to the newly-elected government in Japan. Japan’s prime minister-elect Yukio Hatoyama said he wants a 25% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a significant improvement on the 8% proposed by the outgoing government.

De Boer also praised steps taken by China and India in recent weeks to begin transitioning away from fossil fuel dependence.

However, funding for developing nations remains a major sticking point, as industrialized nations are reluctant to promise large sums during the ongoing economic recession. 

African nations have joined together to strengthen their negotiating voice and have promised to veto any climate change deal that does not adequately meet their monetary demands.

On Monday, the European Union suggested that the United Nations should create a "war chest" to handle billions of dollars that will be paid to developing nations that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Reuters then reported that the EU scaled back on its committment to fund a portion of the estimated $100 billion to $140 billion in annual payments by 2020. These funds, would be separate from funds dedicated to helping poor nations adapt to the effects of climate change. 

Despite movement in the right direction, De Boer said the pace of negotiations must pick up. Read Reuters coverage of his comments at the link below.

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