Legally Binding Climate Change Agreement on the Horizon?

February 10, 2010

The fight against climate change has experienced multiple setbacks recently including the lack of a legally binding global agreement on climate change, the resignation of Yvo de Boer, reluctance from China and India to adopt mandatory emissions targets, and emissions legislation stalled in the US Senate. However, a letter released by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced that President Obama has not given up on reaching a legally binding agreement. Obama hopes that by keeping the talks alive it will be possible to more easily reach such agreement at a summit in Mexico this December. While some critics feel that a signed treaty by December is still a stretch of the imagination, a slightly longer timeframe may be more realistic in encouraging countries to climb on board. Countries such as Mexico, India, and China have already stated that more negotiations are needed before the summit in Cancun commences. In the letter the US emphasized the importance of providing “adequate time for countries to consult with each other bilaterally and regionally,” and that smaller gatherings are at least initially preferable.