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Der Spiegel: The Death of the Kyoto Process

Authors: Christian Schwägerl, and Gerald Traufetter
October 18, 2011

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There seems little possibility that next month's climate summit in Durban will produce an emissions-reduction agreement--meaning the world will soon lack any binding CO2 targets and Europe may find itself alone in the fight against global warming.

A climate catastrophe descended on the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin early last week. Politicians and diplomats from around the world were attending a conference to discuss how global warming will affect the world. They examined scenarios depicting how millions of people living in coastal areas could escape flooding, what will happen to the fishing and mineral rights of island nations when they no longer exist and how China and Russia will benefit from an ice-free Arctic.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that it intended to "openly and creatively address" the dangers of climate change. The exercise was designed to help "find new paths of international cooperation."

But the belief that global warming can be halted through international cooperation is elusive. The Kyoto Protocol, the world's only binding climate agreement, will soon expire. The most important means to date of compelling industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions seems likely to become a mere footnote in history.

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