CANCUN, MEXICO -- Difficult talks in Cancun ended on Saturday morning with a highly praised "balanced" framework for a future climate pact, exceeding the low expectations established for the outcome and paving the way for a legal deal next year.
"Cancún has done its job," said UN climate chief Christiana Figueres. "The beacon of hope has been reignited and faith in the multilateral climate change process to deliver results has been restored."
CANCUN, MEXICO -- United Nations negotiators said late Thursday that a "balanced" package of key components of a future climate pact is within reach in Cancun, sounding an upbeat note in the final hours of the talks, described throughout as "very difficult" by officials.
"We can reach a concrete Cancun outcome," said Akira Yamada, a Japanese foreign ministry official. "Maybe not on Friday, maybe on Saturday, but we hope we can meet it."
Other ministers — from both rich and poor nations — echoed his optimism.
"Parties are talking. Parties are negotiating on the most difficult issues. I am very hopeful that we will get to a good outcome," said Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, Brazil's climate envoy.
Leaders of the world's tiny island states, which are already swamped by rising seas from global warming, have come to the Cancun climate talks to plead for their lives, they said on Wednesday night.
"We're talking about survival," said Marcus Stephen, president of Nauru and head of the group of 14 Pacific Small Island Developing States at the UN negotiations.
The scattered low-lying Pacific islands are most at risk of being wiped off the map from runaway climate change. Their heads of state have led the charge to give voice to island nations in the UN talks.
Just over three weeks ago when . Investigations are not complete, but it is likely that it followed a build-up of gases from the rotting mangrove forest buried below the hotel. If so, most of the booming holiday city where the climate talks are taking place is in danger, having been built on hastily cleared mangrove forest and sand dunes.
But the biggest explosion in Cancún has been the city itself.
New figures from the Mexican government show that the fastest-growing major resort in the world now gets more than 7 million visitors a year and has possibly 1 million permanent inhabitants. Yet in 1974 when the World Bank kick-started it, Cancún was a collection of huts and a small fishing village. It now has 80,000 hotel beds and more than 500 major hotels and resorts, including the Moon Palace hotel and the Cancúnmesse, where UN talks to agree action on climate change are under way.
CANCUN, MEXICO -- A global agreement on technology that would pass cleantech solutions from rich nations to poor is possible in Cancun, according to officials and observers in the negotiations. But some of the most crucial and contentious details of the program are being left for another time.
Still up in the air are critical elements like how technology financing will flow, who will govern the scheme and the extent of global intellectual property rights (IPR).
Despite the holes, "tech transfer" is seen as one of the furthest along and least controversial aspects of a potential Cancun package at the Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 talks.
With the summit less than 48 hours from its scheduled end, UN officials appear eager to wrap up a tech deal in talks that may otherwise produce little progress.
WASHINGTON—If President Obama’s final tax package doesn’t include grants for renewable energy projects, the industry expects hundreds or perhaps thousands of solar and wind workers to add to already-lengthy unemployment lines.
What’s known as the renewable energy convertible tax credit program—or the Treasury grant program—is set to expire by year’s end. And a plan submitted by Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus, D-Mont., to extend the program for a year died over the weekend.
Now leaders from all renewable energy fields are hoping legislators can reach some sort of compromise to keep jobs and projects from being jeopardized. Ideally, they are seeking a two-year extension of the grant program.
“This is not a program that has just benefited blue states,” Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, told reporters in a conference call Wednesday. “It’s a program that has benefited all states. They need to put their partisan bickering aside … to ensure that these industries continue to grow.”
China, cast as the wrecker of UN climate negotiations last year, went some way towards rehabilitation at Cancún summit today, amid reports it was prepared to compromise on a core US demand.
In an apparent effort to make up for last year's debacle at Copenhagen – where China fired up developing countries into opposing a deal and delivering diplomatic snubs to Barack Obama – officials this time have opted for a constructive, low-key approach, say negotiators and observers.
"There is more camaraderie here than I saw in Copenhagen. I see more dialogue and much more intense engagement between the US and China and less shadow boxing," said India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh. "China has moved."
Some reports have even suggested that China, now the biggest producer of greenhouse gases, was prepared to adopt legally binding emissions targets and subject its voluntary C02 reductions to international monitoring and verification.
WASHINGTON—It is tempting to label six-term Rep. Bob Inglis as an equal opportunity annoyer.
But in the nuanced halls of Congress, that would be far too simplistic.
The outgoing South Carolinian is a burr in the GOP’s rigid saddle because he discomfits dominant House Republican groupthink: he admits he trusts the science that says human activities are causing the planet to warm.
He simultaneously perplexes the Democratic co-authors of the American Clean Energy and Security Act by rejecting their cap-and-trade effort at reining in heat-trapping gas emissions.
“I can understand why Ed Markey would be frustrated by somebody like me,” the Republican said about the Democratic Massachusetts representative in an interview with SolveClimate News. After all, “cap and trade is a market-based, conservative concept.”
“But over the years, I’ve committed various heresies against Republicans. The one that’s most enduring is saying that climate change is real and let’s do something about it.”
CANCUN, MEXICO -- The prospect of a deal on forest protection at the Cancun climate talks has galvanized pressure groups at either end of the ideological axis to take common aim at keeping the UN out of the rainforests.
On the one side are indigenous groups, who say the pact would add up to a privatization of their natural resources.
On the other side is an industry-backed think tank named (WGI) that is fighting to protect logging interests, even though WGI likes to frame its arguments inside leftist rhetoric of concern for the poor. Slowing deforestation stifles economic growth in forest-dependent communities, they say, and will increase poverty.
Derailing REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, is a rare issue around which these strange bedfellows are seeing eye-to-eye.
"The ideological spectrum is more of a circle than a line," said Rolf Skar, a campaigner for environmental group .