The Real World Cancun

Almost one week into the UNFCCC’s annual climate summit, the 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) looks less like a drama filled reality show (ala Copenhagen) and more like… well, reality.

A review of recent COP16 coverage reveals what Guardian reporters refer to as the “delicately balanced global climate talks.” Unfortunately, this rosy détente might be a sad indicator of COP-wide resignation over negotiators’ inability to secure a legally binding post-2012 agreement in the near term.

Strained relations could indeed be returning to the house, as yesterday Japan threw down the gauntlet and issued a statement that it would not accept the stop-gap extension of existing Kyoto Protocol provisions. Said one British official, “For Japan to come out with a statement like that at the beginning of the talks is significant. The forthrightness of the statement took people by surprise.”

And who can resist the 43 island nations that banded together to say that they face “the end of history” if developed nations cannot make progress on GHG mitigation targets? A: UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama, both of whom are being called out for their lack of attendance. Clearly, the scene is set for more diplomatic clashes and emotional appeals in the second week of the Cancun episode.

Still, participants like the REDD+ partners are holding fast to cooperation and even tempers in hopes of producing some measurable outcomes (like the Partners’ 2011-12 workplan), even as previous discussions had fallen into a state of disarray. This breed of concerted peacemaking could also bring about resolution on issues like MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification) and an approach to CO2 emissions from agriculture.

In fact, the majority (67%) of V-Carbon readers polled in our last issue believe that consensus around MRV is one of the most likely outcomes of the Cancun talks. See this issue’s V-Carbon sidebar poll for more info. Also, follow Ecosystem Marketplace at Cancun through our reporting, blogging and Twitter updates.

Even as Cancun talks swamp the media, the cameras are still rolling on the voluntary carbon set. This issue of V-Carbon news recounts recent news that both the North Dakota Farmers Union and Agragate Climate Credits Corporation will be closing up shop following the end of the Chicago Climate Exchange cap and trade program.

At the same time, third party standards like the American Carbon Registry and Voluntary Carbon Standard have aired some exciting news about AFOLU methodologies and mechanisms, including ACR’s alternative to the forestry buffer pool.

You can return to the main Market News page, or press the Back button on your browser.