The Great Debate UK
Lord Professor Julian Hunt is Vice President of GLOBE (Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment), Visiting Professor at Delft University, and former Director-General of the UK Met Office. The opinions expressed are his own.
Ahead of the UN Summit in Cancun, legislators from across the world, ranging from United States Congressman Bart Gordon to Chinese Congressman Wang Guangtao, met in China earlier this month at the GLOBE Climate Change Symposium. While the prospects for a comprehensive deal being reached in Mexico have been widely talked down, much progress can still be made and there remains substantial room for optimism.
Last year’s disastrous Copenhagen conference showed the lack of willingness of major countries to establish any meaningful international agreement to deal with the causes and impacts of man made climate change. This might involve only the developed countries reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), as in the Kyoto Protocol, or could also involve other countries with major emissions.
Neither of these scenarios seems likely to be achieved at Cancun. Currently, it seems that the meeting might just result in a set of statements by countries about what they are doing individually and in various multilateral arrangements — a disappointing, lower key re-run of Copenhagen.