UNFCCC and Cancun Climate Change Summit
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UNFCCC and Cancun Climate Change Summit

How can the UN avoid a repeat of the disastrous Copenhagen summit in Mexico?

In the wake of the unsuccessful climate change conference held in Copenhagen last year, another summit is to be held in Cancun, Mexico this December. Intent on not 'getting it wrong' a second time, a series of meetings are to take place in the run up to Cancun, to discuss, deliberate and streamline negotiations.

"Governments have a responsibility this year to take the next essential step in the battle against climate change." These albeit 'underestimated' words were uttered by Christiana Figueres, the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) , at this month's climate change conference in Bonn. The meeting, which was designed to discuss and prepare the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, was made up of representatives from 178 governments.

Demonstrators dumped broken glass outside the convention building, holding placards telling the world leaders to "pick up the pieces" from Copenhagen, the last major climate change summit, which failed to produce a binding climate change resolution. Many delegates attending the three-day conference reiterated the protesters quips by making blasts towards the failure of Copenhagen. Referring to this disappointment, Claudia Salerno, a delegate from Venezuela said:

"The total failure of the meeting in Copenhagen.. was simply because the principles of the United Nations were not respected, nor were international rules."

But what is the solution to 'picking up the pieces' Copenhagen left behind? Did the Bonn conference succeed in helping streamlining the decision-making process which is so imperative if our planet is to survive its otherwise imminent demise? How can the UN avoid a repeat of the Copenhagen summit in Mexico?

Fernando Tudelo, a representative from Mexico, blames the process of negotiations for the failure in Copenhagen, stating, "We need to improve our working methods." There is a general accord that negotiations and decisions need to be streamlined so that a climate change resolution can be met. Several countries have shown support for streamlining the decision-making process, which requires no less than 194 parties to approve an agreement. One suggestion proposed is to create "contact group" from 36 countries that would converse on issues before presenting them to a plenary session for approval. Representatives are also considering whether to create a draft negotiating text in the forthcoming weeks.

UNFCCC and Cancun Climate Change SummitAs she addressed the meeting, Christiana Figueres underlined the rapidly rising scale and urgency of what still has to be done in the negotiations:

"Governments alone cannot solve climate change, but only governments, working together, can help the world pilot the cause effectively".

Reading reports about the Bonn conference, which as far as I can gather, mainly consisted of leaders carping Copenhagen and making half-hearted and uncommitted pledges to 'streamline' negotiations and 'improve working methods', it is hard not to surmise that little was achieved in Bonn. In light of this indecision and lack of resolution, the UN and world leaders are arguably heading towards a second disastrous climate change summit. Instead of talking about what they are planning to do, why don't they just do it?

Perhaps one of the biggest ironies regarding the Copenhagen summit last December was the fact that the 140 private airplanes and 1,200 limousines the world leaders needed to attend the 11-day conference, pumped out 41,000 tons of carbon dioxide, equal to the amount produced over the same period by a city with a population of almost 150,000. It was this blatant incongruity that angered people the most and allowed them to dismiss the whole thing as a ridiculous circus, more than the fact that all Copenhagen managed to produce was a handful of countries setting a general goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius and allocating billions of dollars to help developing countries limit harmful gases.

Given the paradox that the travelling to huge climate change summits inevitably causes within the realms of creating more carbon dioxide to be pumped into the ozone layer and intensify global warming, it seems ludicrous that the UN seems so intent on dragging delegates from all over the world to a series of successive meetings before the 'big one' in Mexico.

Of course discussions need to take place and decisions made, but why can this not happen virtually? Especially when little seems to be resolved at the meetings, like the one in Bonn, anyway? Like when any major resolution is accomplished, action needs to replace oratory, and I believe this is where the UN and governments are failing in the fight against global warming.

Gabrielle Pickard

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Narciso "Amigo" M. Nombre

If all UN members will be acting at Cancun the way they did in the Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen Climate Conference, perhaps it is the will of God that mankind will meet its Waterloo. This will be a part of the planet's evolution to age, starting now with global warming which is mainly caused by ECOSYSTEMS  IMBALANCE through the demise of our forests and vegetation, which will be followed by the drying up of our waters until all forms of life will be annihilated, until earth becomes a dead planet.

Scientists and learned men the world over, know and had known that global warming started when man cut a wide swath of forest and vegetation for his towns and cities, his highways, freeways, airports, agri-land and grazing lands, golf courses, race tracks, ball parks, stadiums, malls and condos, even his testing grounds for modern weaponry and nuclear bombs, all done in the name of progress (greed).

This was exacerbated by the sprouting of numerous CO2 spewing plants and factories all over the planet, coupled with the mass production of engines and machineries, and the insatiable production of trucks, automobiles and cars for a bloating 8.5 billion humanity with their poultry and livestock in tow.  

Defining ECOSYSTEMS, it is the relationship of living organisms (including man) to their environment or to each other. Simply put, organism man with his growing number, activities and needs (greed) has now become so disproportionate to his environment and its resources creating thus a spanking IMBALANCE.  

Finger pointing, blame games and arrogant oratories will never solve this IMBALANCE as these all came about through anthropogenic causes, or to put it bluntly because of man's greed, arrogance and his natural confrontational attitude, the reason wars will be always with us.


Aside from the above, the World Body should have THE WORLD'S FOREST AND VEGETATION THEIR OWN TO ADOPT, NURTURE AND PROTECT, MONITOR AND REHABILITATE as some countries corruptly abuse their forest and vegetation.

The world should know that rising of the oceans level is not caused by melting ice, but for lack of trees and vegetation, by soil subsidence or erosion carried by floods to the ocean bottom replacing an equivalent volume of water to rise gradually.

Further, trees and vegetation are nature's absorbents of CO2 and GHG emissions. Furthermore, trees and vegetation are the planet's coolant, as they absorb the heat energy of the sun in their process of photosynthesis upon their leaves to give nutrients for flowering and fruit bearing useful to man.


Sask Resident

The IPCC and the climate people have not corrected but only glossed over the errors and doubts caused by the climategate emails, the questions on northern temperatures by Russian and Japanese scientists and the errors throughout the recent report, few people, especially politicians, will be willing to risk economic changes on the IPCC assumptions. The IPCC should stop and recheck and redo all the data and assumptions used in their reports then the final data, plus methods to determine the data, should be freely released to the science communities in all countries, including those who deny the degree and cause of changes in climate. If you are arguing over the raw data, all conclusions and recommendations will be suspect.


Personally I'm surprised at how little coverage the Major Economies Forum in New York seems to have received, at least in the UK media.
Maybe they've just decided, from the get go, that it's going to be as much of a non-event as Copenhagen was, and just decided not to waste air time or column inches on it.
Sadly I doubt we'll even see anything positive come out of Cancun, more than likely it's just going to turn into another blame game, and end up with some meaningless but face saving agreement being drawn up at the 11th hour again.
Unfortunately I don't think we're going to see any significant moves to address global climate change until the global economy looks more steady.


With world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the challenges to meet our energy needs and consequences of the climate management cannot be over-stated, nor its urgency.  However, the global ego-centric politics being what they are, even ordinary educated citizens are finding themselves confused because of conflicting theories and solutions floating around.  It is important to realise that this most important intertwined issue of climate change vs energy needs cannot be tackled without taking the people into confidence, and all repeat all the governments putting their heads and resources together in a win-win attitude.With technologies at hand, we know our energy needs can be met with hydro power, coal-fired generation, thermal power based on oil and gas, nuclear-power, wind-power, solar-photovoltaic-energy and maybe other small/local sources.  While the hydro-power has no polluting problem, the possibilities of its expansion depend on environmental and human displacement issues; oil and gas based power plants are quite costly and depleting available known resources; coal-fired generation seems most practical in terms of abundant supply and cost, emission control remains a big problem.Nuclear-power offers a good solution with proper mechanisms, except its cost and the uranium running low on supplies. Wind-power has already proven its relevance, non-polluting and cost-comparison and can been sufficiently used in the windy regions of the world; as members of One World, we should be prepared to put up windmills everywhere it is windy – be it on our backyard or on the sandy beaches without personal likes and dislikes. Solar energy may not become cheaper for some time until technologies improve and mass-scale production of photo-voltaic panels at affordable price is in place. Though the energy density of solar power is lower than other available known sources, this form of energy and its wider user where possible should be encouraged.  Both the wind and solar energy are intermittent by nature; hence proper storage and feeding to national electric grid for wider use as they are produced should be part of the national energy plan.       It is important to realise it is only thru government efforts and initiatives, including sufficient financing of R&D, not just by private sector and market forces alone can the climate-energy issue be addressed.  This means the government of governments, that is UN, has an important coordinating and management role in this critical area. It is so sad that this world organisation has been failing the people so far.  Still we hope to see that Mexico Cancun conference toward end 2010 brings some sense and sanity among member countries.  


In the final analysis, it will be the people with full awareness of the causes and effects of climate change and how this will impact on their future children and grand children can make their elected governments responsibly.  For this awareness to grow, there must be one agreed body of opinion among scientists, climatologists, and others concerned with the subject and this gets disseminated thru educational process, media, etc. among all the countries . When this happens the people will force their governments to listen, learn and act.  Nonetheless, the current efforts should continue and we all world citizens should feel responsible to move rationally and efficiently in this matter.,