Deadlock in Durban

The 17th conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, popularly known as COP-17, is taking place in Durban, South Africa at a critical moment, as the historic 1997 Kyoto Protocol is set to expire next year. But, like the last two climate-change conferences, COP-17 can be expected to spend much and produce little.

NEW YORK – The 17th conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, popularly known as COP-17, is taking place in Durban, South Africa, at a critical moment, as the historic 1997 Kyoto Protocol is set to expire next year. But, like the climate-change conferences in Copenhagen in 2009 and in Cancún in 2010, COP-17 can be expected to spend much and produce little.

Indeed, the extravagance of these conferences seems to grow, rather than shrink, as their dismal results become more apparent. COP-15 in Copenhagen lasted 12 days, and is estimated to have attracted 15,000 delegates and 5,000 journalists. The carbon emissions created by so many people flying to Denmark was real, while the emissions targets that the conference sought remained beyond reach. That will be true in Durban as well – and on an even greater scale.

The real problem is that the expectations concerning meaningful action on climate change, as opposed to gimmicks such as US President Barack Obama’s last-minute arrival and minuscule gestures in Copenhagen, are now lower than ever. There are two problems that cannot be wished away.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/iwU9nng;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.