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Barcelona ClimateTalks End With Little Progress and Cautious Optimism for Copenhagen

The final week of international climate negotiations before the major COP15 summit in Copenhagen next month ended in Barcelona today with little progress made on the two principal issues fueling the continuing statement between rich and poor nations, specifically mid-term mitigation targets and financing. Delegations from 50 African nations brought the talks to a halt on Tuesday, saying any further negotiations required a firmer commitment from industrialized nations on mid-term emission reductions targets. Leaders from the delegations said that countries should commit to a 40% reduction over 1990 levels by 2020, far higher number than any developed nation has put on the table.

On the domestic front, the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee passed the Kerry-Boxer climate bill out of committee, but not without days of theatrics provoked by a three-day Republican boycott of the bill’s markup session. The majority Democrats, led by Senator Barbara Boxer, invoked a never-before-used committee rule granting authority to the chairperson to move forward without the minority party present. Success in Copenhagen is tied to progress in the U.S. Congress to committing to some form of emissions target.

But succes is still achievable, according to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, saying “Copenhagen can and must be the turning point in the international fight
against climate change – nothing has changed my confidence in that. A powerful combination of commitment and compromise can and must make this happen,”

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