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Getting Climate Policy on Track after The Hague

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In November 2000, the Sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-6) ended in disarray and recrimination. The objective of the meeting was to agree on the details of the definitions and rules underlying the Kyoto Protocol negotiated in 1997. Unfortunately, the issues at stake were not small ones but points of principle and substance on which agreement had previously proved impossible, not only in Kyoto but in the negotiating sessions that followed. COP-6 is to be reconvened in July 2001 in the hope of resolving the differences, but the outlook is not favourable because positions appear to remain far apart. As a result, it is not clear what directions the international negotiations might take next. This article explores various paths, and draws the conclusion that several years may be required before a necessary revision of the Kyoto rules and targets can be undertaken. In the interim, progress on climate issues should not stop, and the authors suggest a set of efforts to be pursued, even while the search for a common global response continues. These efforts include pursuing domestic action to reduce emissions, maintaining activities already begun under the Framework Convention, and, in as much as possible, seeking agreement on consistent accounting rules.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, 2: MIT Center for International Studies, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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