Cancun Climate Summit, part 1


A crowd gathers in front of Copenhagen’s Bela Center  in 2009 where the COP15 talks took place. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is now underway in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10. The conference, also known as COP16/CMP6, represents the 16th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) and the 6th Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP).


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992 and came into force in March of 1994. It is ratified by 194 parties. The purpose of the Framework is to acknowledge among nations the shared interest in climate change mitigation and preparedness for any inevitable rises in temperature.

One outcome of the COP is 1997’s Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol went a step further than the Framework by setting legally binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions among 37 industrialized nation signatories and the European Union, representing an average pledge of five per cent reductions against 1990 levels during the five-year period 2008-2012. As of November 2010, 192 states have ratified. The United States has never ratified or put the Protocol into force, although it remains a part of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This Year’s Conference

Expectations for the COP16 appear to be cautious, if not low. The Conference is hosting about 15,000 participants- just a fraction of the 50,000 strong delegation that turned out to Copenhagen’s COP15 in 2009. Facing down the disappointing lack of accord in the Copenhagen talks, the continued strife in the global economy and not much hype from the media, the Cancun talks have their work cut out.

Below is a link round-up of early developments and perspectives on the talks:

Cancun and the new economics of climate change,  U.K. Guardian

Cancun climate change summit: America plays tough, U.K. Guardian

Climate Change Conference begins in Mexico, Voice of America

Cancun’s First Goal: Do Better than Copenhagen, Time Magazine

Watch live and on-demand webcasts of the conference at the UNFCCC website, here.

Visit the U.K. Guardian’s Interactive Timeline of Climate Talks, here.