The Copenhagen Hangover from 2009 continues two years later as the UN is still unable to come up with a new treaty on climate change. Despite the low expectations, the focus still remains on the UN talks this year in Durban.
The U.S. has been criticized for showing no leadership and in stead being an obstacle to progress:
The letter, signed by 16 different organizations, says that while President Obama pledged in November 2008 to “engage vigorously in these negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change,” he has failed to deliver on that vow. The letter is to be released Wednesday, in an unusual public rebuke. The Washington Post obtained it Tuesday.
“Three years later, America risks being viewed not as a global leader on climate change, but as a major obstacle to progress,” they wrote. “U.S. positions on two major issues – the mandate for future negotiations and climate finance – threaten to impede in Durban the global cooperation so desperately needed to address the threat of climate change.”
This comes as a UN scientist implores countries that the cost of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of stopping climate change now:
Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, summarized a litany of potential disasters at a U.N. climate conference in the South African city of Durban. Although he gave no explicit deadlines, the implication was that time is running out for greenhouse gas emissions to level off and begin to decline. Heat waves currently experienced once every 20 years will happen every other year by the end of this century, he said.