UN Climate Change Conference Opens in Cancun

   By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block

An estimated 15,000 people, including officials and environmental leaders from 194 countries, will attend the UN's Climate Change Conference at the Moon Palace Hotel in Cancun, Mexico.  The 12-day conference and associated meetings will seek to revive international efforts to slow global warming.

The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference is officially known as the 16th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 6th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties (CMP 6) to the Kyoto Protocol.  The UNFCCC was established to stop global temperatures rising above dangerous levels as a result of man made emissions.  The COP meets annually to discuss progress with the key objective to obtain a global deal cutting greenhouse gases by 50 percent by 2050.The only existing international treaty on climate change is the 2005 Kyoto Protocol expiring December 31, 2012.  The U.S. did not ratify the pact developed to control greenhouse gas emissions of all industrialized nations.  News reports suggest it is highly unlikely that any substantive progress will be made at the conference to extend the Kyoto Protocol, particularly given the growing tensions between the U.S. and China over these concerns. 

Conference delegates hope to reach agreement, however, on lesser measures such as a green fund to provide financial support to poor nations, better means to share clean technologies and recommendations to improve protection of carbon absorbing-tropical forests.

Coverage of the conference as well as webcasts of some live meetings are available at http://unfccc.int.

Read more at the Jenner & Block Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog.