The international climate talks in Bangkok, Thailand ended last week with little progress but a clear directive. Political leaders must give their negotiating teams some parameters to enable real negotiations to take place and reach a final agreement in Copenhagen in December.
The talks didn’t really do too much more or less than expected. We wouldn’t expect the political agreements to come during negotiations like those in Bangkok — those will (hopefully) come when ministers or heads of state arrive in Copenhagen for the annual decision-making meeting for the UN climate treaty. But we would have expected the shape of the agreement to start becoming clear in Bangkok, and that is where the roadblocks are. Because the political issues are so great, negotiators are struggling to get the structure of a new agreement in place.
But the Bangkok talks did come away with a clear and obvious next step: for the United States to put some real proposals on the table. Developing countries like Indonesia have done so, and Europe has done so (with Norway blowing the roof off the house in Bangkok with a pledge to reduce its carbon emissions 40 percent below 2020 levels). Now it’s our turn.
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(Image: UN climate talks in Bangkok. Credit: Chrissy Schwinn/TNC.)