There is a new article in the NYTimes on whether or not the world should push for a legally binding follow-up to the Kytoto protocol, or a politically binding one, as was negotiated at Copenhagen in December.
Several experts with ties to the Obama administration either personally or through their organizations said in recent interviews they don’t view a new global treaty as likely or even desirable by the time countries meet in December for the next U.N. climate summit in Cancun, Mexico.
The argument is that these large UN climate meetings get bogged down in interminable discussions about legal language and don’t focus on actions from the right countries. Several NGO representatives quoted agreed with the approach to move from a legal commitment to a national action-oriented one:
What we actually need is countries saying they’ll take action, countries putting in place domestically enforceable sets of actions and a set of mechanisms to hold countries accountable,” said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“The one thing I think we don’t need is a bunch of commitments that nobody meets,” he said.
“We just have to get some implementation done,” agreed Rob Bradley, director of climate policy at the World Resources Institute, the Washington-based think tank where U.S. deputy envoy Jonathan Pershing worked before joining the administration.
“What we have never done before is delivered,” Bradley said. “A legally binding agreement is not ultimately a goal in and of itself. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are countries going to act?”