From COP16 to EU1: Global Climate Policy Goes Regional
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December 06, 2010 -- UNFCC discussions in Cancun look unlikely to produce meaningful results without U.S. commitments. Regional talks coming up in Europe have better chances of bringing consensus and action. -- Energy Priorities
December 06, 2010 -- http://energypriorities.com/ --
UNFCC discussions in Cancun look unlikely to produce meaningful results without U.S. commitments. Regional talks coming up in Europe have better chances of bringing consensus and action.
UN Climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, last week mostly spun their wheels, and few observers are optimistic about this week's conclusion.
Meanwhile, the European Union is planning a first-ever Energy Summit in February 2010. That event is more likely to produce meaningful results, because Europeans have a completely different perspective from that of the U.S. on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
Unlike the U.S., where the domestic petroleum and coal lobbies will dictate policy for the next few years, Europe has very few natural energy resources of its own. North Sea oil and gas have peaked and will gradually dwindle while the EU economy's demand for energy grows. Dependence on natural gas from Russia is considered a real threat that trumps economic fears in Europe.
Regional discussions will pick up while global negotiations are failing. Last month U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended a Lisbon summit on energy security. The agenda at the low-key meeting included helping Ukraine in becoming a more reliable energy partner of the EU.
A few days later, the European Commission released a report to more clearly define European energy priorities through 2020 and to focus the agenda for the first EU Summit on Energy scheduled in February 2010.
Tomorrow, energy security will be on the agenda of a Russia-EU summit in Brussels. Russia wants to settle issues that stand in the way of Russia’s entry to the WTO.
By Denis Du Bois at Energy Priorities