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“Meaningful agreement” reached between U.S., China, and India

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | December 18, 2009

Editor’s note:  Dan Kammen reports in from Copenhagen

Today, a senior White House office announced that the U.S. had reached a “meaningful agreement” with China, India and South Africa at the U.N. Climate Summit in Copenhagen.  According to the Associated Press, the official characterized the deal as a first step, but said it was not enough to combat the threat of a warming planet.

Details of the deal with these emerging economies were not immediately clear.

To my mind, the key operative term here is “meaningful agreement with INDIA AND CHINA”, which means that the major developed and developing nations that did not “meaningfully” participate in the Kyoto process have worked to an agreement here.

While the hard work is actually to come, this signals to industry in developed and developing nation a fundamental shift:   away from the old ‘developed/developing’ to ‘major/minor’ emitters.  Carbon prices will come, regional trading regimes will come, and with the U.S. having already committed to lead a push for $100 billion/year for less industrialized nations to a fund to address BOTH mitigation and adaptation.

The most essential pieces can now be said to either be in place, or on the agenda to be developed over the next months, ideally by the G20 summit, and if not, by COP16 in Mexico.