Climate change is the biggest threat humanity faces today. Opening for the climate current climate talks on May 2, hosted by Germany and Mexico, in Petersberg, Germany, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said, “We need to show the world how serious the threat is.” The serious threat of climate change requires a successor to the Kyoto Protocol be crafted. Can the Petersberg conference, where representatives of 45 countries are meeting through May 4, help move things along so it can created?
German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen sure hopes so. He said the main reason for the current conference is “to get the process moving again.” The next UN climate summit will be in Cancun, Mexico, on November 29 through December 10. Roettgen said the goal of the current conference in Germany is to “pave the way to a good result in Cancun. He added, “Nobody wants another big disappointment.” In other words, nobody wants a repeat of Copenhagen, where only a ‘goal’ could be decided upon.
The goal of the Copenhagen Accord, backed by around 120 nations, is to limit the increase in average world temperatures to below 2 Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during the opening of the conference, “We have to realize that we have quite a long way to go to reach the 2-degree-goal.”
What could not be agreed on in Copenhagen is how to reach that goal and how to provide funds to reach it. The Copenhagen Accord outlines $100 billion in annual climate aid from 2020. Reuters reported that a document prepared for Petersberg by Germany and Mexico said, “Financing negotiations seem to have been caught by the vicious circle ‘no money, no action – no action, no money”
On Monday, Yvo De Boer, outgoing head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said in a speech that that the fate of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 was on “everybody’s minds but, unfortunately, no one’s lips.” Kyoto binds almost 40 nations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008 to 2012.
De Boer told the 45 representatives, it is their “political responsibility as ministers to take this thorny topic by the horns…and that in turn will mean the end of the Kyoto Protocol.” De Boer added that it appeared “highly unlikely” that Kyoto backers would agree to new targets after 2012 that were binding if the U.S. only had targets in its domestic laws. Climate change legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate.