The Financial Times reports:
Kyoto was theoretically sensible. It set emissions targets for the industrialised countries historically responsible for the climate problem. These targets, had they been met, should have helped cool the planet.
But the world’s biggest emitter in 1997, the US, never ratified Kyoto and the world’s biggest emitter today, China, was deemed a developing country that did not have to cut its carbon pollution, so emissions kept soaring.
Copenhagen was supposed to come up with something better. Instead it produced an accord encouraging countries to make voluntary emissions pledges to keep temperatures from rising beyond 2C. Pledges have been made but they do not collectively meet the 2C target.
Now all eyes will be on Paris in 2015. It is still early days but the outlines of a potential agreement are already taking shape.
According to several of those involved, developed countries
have little appetite for another “top-down” Kyoto-like accord specifying reduction targets for each country.
Equally, it is recognised that a “bottom-up” system of voluntary Copenhagen-esque pledges is unlikely to do the job.
Instead, there is talk of trying to combine the two approaches by letting countries volunteer reductions that would then be subject to legally binding international rules.