April 27, 2011
Elements of last year's Copenhagen Accord moved a step closer to reality as two weeks
of talks concluded in Cancun this week with a new consensus on the path forward for
international negotiations to combat climate change. Over the objections of Bolivia,
the so-called Cancun Agreements text was adopted by more than 190 countries, setting
the stage for ongoing negotiations on subjects ranging from greenhouse gas emission
cuts from developed and developing countries to rules for reducing deforestation.
As geoscientist Katherine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University in Lubbock notes, ongoing
greenhouse gas emissions have committed the world to at least 1.5 degree Celsius warming
from pre-Industrial levels—a number that the Cancun Agreements urge consideration
of as a future target "on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge."