Mexico to Host Follow-Up Conference on Global Climate Change in December 2010
Mexico has announced that it will host a summit on global climate change in December 2010 as a follow-up to this year's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Dec. 7-18. The Copenhagen summit, the 15th such event organized by the UN, made very little progress because of major differences between industrialized countries and developing nations as well as between the US and China. Mexican officials sought to play a key role in the Copenhagen talks, authoring a document that proposed a plan of action to reduce contamination. Mexico also joined several countries in making a big push for creating a "Green Fund" to help finance anti-pollution projects in lesser-developed countries. President Felipe Calderon led the official Mexican delegation to the summit, but Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard and Veracruz Gov. Fidel Herrera also attended, representing other organizations of elected officials.
Talks in Copenhagen fall short
Mexico had pushed hard to host the next stage of the talks in 2010, knowing all along that strong disagreements between wealthy industrialized nations and developing countries would present an obstacle to reaching a comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen. "It appears very doubtful that this conference will be able to put together a binding legal document," Luis Alfonso de Alba, Mexico's special envoy to the UN and point person in charge of Mexico's participation the climate-change discussions, said after more than a week of discussions in Copenhagen. "There is no doubt that some progress will be made, but any advances will have to be consolidated at a follow-up summit in Mexico."
The UN's decision to hold the follow-up meeting in Mexico in December 2010 was announced on Dec. 15, the day before Calderon was scheduled to address the tens of thousands of delegates from 192 countries.
Ebrard is lobbying heavily for the 2010 gathering to be held in Mexico City. Other officials said Mexico City is just one of the possible venues. "We haven't given thought to an official site yet," said Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira. "It could be Monterrey, Mexico City, or Quintana Roo. The only thing that has been decided is the country and the time period.
Former US Vice President Al Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his activism to halt global warming, is pushing for the next round of talks in Mexico to be held sooner than December. But UN spokesperson John Hay said moving up the summit was not necessary because discussions would be ongoing, including another smaller-scale reunion in Bonn, Germany, in June.
During his speech to participants, Calderon presented a document proposing a plan of action that included 140 steps to reduce air pollution, with the goal of lowering harmful emissions by 50 million tons annually.
Other Latin American countries are also proposing significant carbon-emission reductions, including Costa Rica (see NotiCen, 2009-12-17).
Mexico helps draft "Green Fund" proposal
The Mexican president also said that Mexico is prepared to act as a bridge between developing and developed countries to help forge an agreement on climate change. Mexico is working with Great Britain, Norway, and Australia to put together a proposal for a "Green Fund," which will create a mechanism to provide financing for anti-pollution projects in poor countries. "The intention is for developing countries to recognize our own responsibility," said de Alba. "But we need international cooperation so that we can take much more comprehensive actions [than allowed by our limited resources].
Veracruz Gov. Herrera--who attended the Copenhagen gathering as a representative of the Mexican governors conference (Confederacion Nacional de Gobernadores, CONAGO)--pushed for creating the Green Fund. In a statement, Herrera, a member of the opposition Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), said the effort to reverse global warming is the correct step to take "not only from an ethical, ecological, social, and political standpoint but also as an economic necessity. …