Matthew Sinclair

Disappointment in Durban

Disappointment in Durban
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Will Durban break the cycle of climate change meetings that repeatedly disappoint those hoping to replace Kyoto with an upgraded model? With so much else on, most people seem to be ignoring the latest summit entirely. Scanning the major newspaper websites, only the Guardian and the Independent mention “Durban” on their homepages. 


First Copenhagen failed to live up to the massive hype. Then Cancun continued the stalemate on the big picture and negotiators contented themselves with addressing some relatively minor points. But Kyoto’s commitment period ends at the end of 2012, so those hoping for new mandatory targets can’t content themselves with stalling forever.


Despite the scale of the economic crisis, the politicians really want a deal and some governments, particularly our own, will commit significant resources to secure one.  They are regularly announcing new programmes worth tens of millions of pounds to try and win poorer countries over. But looking at the Guardian and Independent’s stories the problem is that the “villains” are too many and too important. The Guardian headlines with India holding up a proposed “road map” for the talks and the Independent reports that: 

‘The key villain remains the United States, which a year before presidential elections will not sign up to a new green target. China will not play ball either. Japan, Russia and Canada have pulled out of the current negotiations.’

the data

Let them eat carbon

Matthew Sinclair is director of the TaxPayers' Alliance.