One of the pillars of the new climate diplomacy is the basic perception of a common threat, and the need to take common action, since we are all in a way on the same side.1 But the efforts to take common action challenge strong political, economic and societal interests.
Today, negotiators continue to struggle with a series of principles and issues that have been on the agenda from the beginning: the north–south divide with the perception of common but differentiated responsibilities; the transfers of financial resources and technology; the specific interests of the producers of fossil fuels, and the general interests of other economic actors; the threats to small islands or the effects of climate change on the perspectives for economic development; together, all these factors create a process that has produced two important legal instruments: the Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992), in force since 1994, and the Kyoto Protocol (1997), in force since 2005.
But today, after the hype and disappointment of Copenhagen (COP-15), prospects for the Conferences of Parties in Mexico and South Africa are uncertain. And in the meantime, reality has moved on with the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which seems to tell us that our common addiction to fossil fuels is unsustainable. We all realise that ultimately the world’s energy mix has to change towards a low-carbon future with renewables as the main component.
The full text of this article is available from the links below.