Another United Nations Climate Change Conference has come and gone. This year’s Cancun Climate Conference didn’t look to be a repeat of the disaster that was Copenhagen. For one thing, the UN chose the sunny, party beach capital of Mexico over the stately, old-world (and, oh yeah, cold) city of Copenhagen.
The attitude at the conference was different too. Where the delegates arrived at Copenhagen with dreams of sweeping change – dreams which, for the most part, turned into shattered illusions – they descended on Cancun with smaller expectations in mind. And yet, even with what seemed like less at stake, the UN delegations reached the end of the conference with no deal, which of course was a dire prospect going into the conference.
At stake was not just the success or failure of this conference, the 16th annual meeting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Many delegates and analysts warned that failure to reach some sort of accord, even a modest, face-saving deal that pushes the tough questions off into the future, could doom the entire process.
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