I have already written about the failure in cancun. Very little was accomplished, which I think is a wonderful thing. The chicken littles are trying to spin this failure, but they know it is the end of kyoto and hard CO2 limits. Let the chicken littles continue to be deluded. The rest of us will continue to live our lives in the 21st and not the 18th century.
More from Lorne Gunter.
There really isn't much to pick and choose from between the Copenhagen accord and the Cancun one. Still, in the wacky, surreal world of the UN, perception is reality; activity passes for achievement. And delegates left this year's two-week, on-the-beach negotiations feeling very much better about what they had done than they did after last year's cold, wet gathering at a Danish port. So it must be true that the Cancun accord is an important lurch in the right direction. Right?
It's true that at Cancun, the Mexican hosts were able to get all countries to agree to cut their emissions. This includes developing countries, which had before resisted all efforts to impose caps on their carbon dioxide production. Even China and India agreed, although both had before been adamant that they would accept no limits until their economies rivalled those of the developed nations.
This was heralded as an "important breakthrough." And perhaps it is, until you realize that there was no overall emissions target set, no worldwide quota on how much CO2 humans can pump into the atmosphere. Each country will be allowed to set its own limit and there will be no determination of whether or not any country's emission targets are adequate to stop climate change. All talk of legally binding limits was punted until at least next year's summit in South Africa.
An international fund of $30-billion annually was agreed to to help developing countries adapt to climate change. This sum will eventually rise to $100-billion a year. That sounds impressive, but all talk of details was tabled until at least 2011.
What activities will qualify for funding? If Canada helps a developing nation buy a Canadian natural gas-fired power plant to replace an old coal-fired plant will that count? And just how is the UN going to raise this money? Will it try to impose a worldwide carbon or financial-transaction tax? Um, call back next year, please. Such details are just too threatening to the spirit of Cancun.