US vs. China and low expectations characterize climate talks
The UN climate talks currently underway in Tianjin, China are smaller, more subdued and well organized when compared to the major international event at Copenhagen last December.
But in the end they are still about China vs. the United States.
Tianjin is being seen as an opportunity to find some common ground before the UN summit in Cancún, Mexico later this year, but the chief US envoy is frustrated at the level and speed of progress taking place. Instead of actual progress he sees backtracking.
From a report in the Guardian:
What is frustrating in these negotiations is to see countries not using that as the basis, but relitigating things that we more [or less] resolved over the course of the Copenhagen negations.
–Jonathan Pershing, US deputy special envoy for climate change
According to a an AP report, China complains that developed nations have failed to take the lead in cutting their own emissions, while demanding developing nations to cut theirs.
With this kind of gridlock and climate of low expectations, a UN solution seems unlikely. It’s no wonder even George Monbiot has lost faith in our political institutions’ ability to do anything effective about climate change.