Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In Climate Talks, Soft Is the New Hard -- and That's a Good Thing - by Andrew C. Revkin

A scene on the final day of climate treaty talks in Lima, Peru. (Credit: IISD.ca) Click to Enlarge.
For several years leading up to Copenhagen, hard emissions targets and timetables were essential.  Anything less was a planet-wrecking cop-out.  Much of the rhetoric pressing for a new agreement was framed as "sealing the deal" on a new internationally legally-binding restriction on greenhouse gas emissions building on the model represented by the dead-end 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

But it has become clear that efforts to set binding hard targets when dealing with greenhouse gases -- which remain deeply linked to economic activity -- were counterproductive and probably delayed progress, as a number of analysts had warned.

"Soft" diplomacy is reflected in a new system for pledging national climate actions that emerged in last year's outcome in Warsaw and was refined a bit in Lima this time around: "Intended Nationally Determined Contributions," or INDCs in United Nations parlance.
Note the critical words in the phrase, by the way:
Intended -- meaning any such actions are a goal, but a non-binding one.

National -- meaning each nation chooses its own mix of actions.
Read original article at In Climate Talks, Soft Is the New Hard -- and That's a Good Thing

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