December 23, 2010

Scriptoria Blog

Cancun: Climate effort back on the road

Now that the dust has settled in the aftermath of the Cancun climate change summit, what does the world think of the outcome? The reaction has generally been positive, perhaps because so little was expected of Cancun that almost anything would have been welcome. But maybe that’s being just a bit too cynical.

Tim Gore of Oxfam told The Guardian newspaper: “The UN climate talks are off the life-support machine. The agreement falls short of the emissions cuts that are needed, but it lays out a path to move towards them.”

The China Daily - whose view is significant because of China’s previous lack of enthusiasm for climate change agreements - hailed the outcome as a success and declared that the Kyoto Protocol had been reaffirmed.

Writing for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s news website, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, gave the summit agreement two cheers - just.

It had, he said, “put the world back on track to renew international efforts to combat climate change, albeit at a pace and a scale that will leave many onlookers frustrated”.

We at Scriptoria, along with everyone else involved in international development, cannot fail to have noticed the effects of climate change in the fields, in the forests and in the seas of the countries where we work. So we are inclined to welcome anything that will keep the momentum going.

Steiner said no one should underestimate the magnitude of the challenge facing South Africa, the host of next year’s summit. But at least there will be talks next year and the delegates will have something serious to talk about.

Let us celebrate that.

Photo: International Rice Research Institute, reproduced under a creative commons licence.

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