No Red Carpet for This Year's United Nations Conference on Climate Change
What a difference a year makes. Last year's United Nations climate change conference generated optimistic buzz for months leading up to its opening gala. On the other hand, this year's conference, which opened today in Cancun, Mexico, has been accompanied with very little enthusiasm, and even less public awareness. To say a bubble was burst last year would be an understatement.
After the incredible buildup of last year's conference was met with dismal failure, as world leaders failed to agree on a binding accord to cap emissions, many have lost faith that this year's conference will produce a better result.
Environmentalist John Gibbons says there is no doubt public interest in climate change has dissipated since Copenhagen. Optimism has been replaced by, "an enormous sense of frustration, bordering on despair, in both the 'traditional' and 'pragmatic' environmental camps. Despair in some quarters is bordering on panic, as the numbers keep getting worse and worse."
The political and financial commitment to climate change action still does not meet scientists demands. Last year, US$200 billion was invested in clean energy; scientists say an annual investment of US$500 billion until 2020 is required to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Given the perpetual political inaction, scientists now say melting glaciers could raise global sea levels by one meter by the end of the century, which would pose a significant threat to all coastal regions. Nevertheless, the world's two largest emitters, the United States and China still refuse to heed this warning as climate change legislation, capping emissions, has yet to be approved in either country. And both nations played a key role in the failure to pass an international treaty in Copenhagen last year.
Pessimism around political action on climate change has become so strong it has taken hold of journalist George Monbiot, one of the world's foremost environmental reporters. Monbiot says, "In terms of real hopes for global action on climate change, we are now far behind where we were in 1997, or even 1992. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don't want to be associated with failure."
Read the full story at the Irish Times: Deep pessimism on climate change issue
Energy Boom content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be advice regarding the investment merits of, or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of, any security identified on, or linked through, this site.