Climate talks in Warsaw opened a couple of weeks ago with hope that significant progress could be made toward further reducing global carbon dioxide emissions. However, much of that hope was dashed when a large number of delegates walked out of the talks in a protest designed to make the point that things are moving too slowly.
The disaffected delegates cited a number of concerns, not least of which was a decision by the Polish government to throw its support behind a meeting of the coal industry in Warsaw. Some of the delegates believe Poland is more concerned about helping its own coal producers than seriously reducing carbon emissions.
Japan and Australia also found themselves in the crosshairs of the delegates who walked out. They are angry at Japan for not only failing to meet previously set emission standards, but also their recent announcement that emissions in their country will actually increase. Rather than cutting carbon dioxide levels some 25% below 1990 levels, as promised, Japan is expected to increase output about 3%.
In Australia there are no hard numbers causing trouble, but rather an attitude from new prime minister Tony Abbott and his government. The Australians now seem to be taking a more sceptical approach toward climate change and carbon dioxide emissions, which, in the long run, may mean less enthusiasm for making any wholesale changes.
If there's any good news it's the fact that UK climate secretary Ed Davey still expects good progress to be made before the talks conclude. Only time will tell. In the meantime, delegates will continue to make their voices heard regarding everything from the recent devastation of the Philippines typhoon to the need for carbon emissions standards to be legally binding among all participating countries.