One step forward and two sideward: regional analysis of climate policy in 2010 and the Cancun climate conference (COP 16)

The year 2010 offered mixed results concerning global climate policy, with serious setbacks as well as some small victories. In the United States, plans on long-awaited domestic climate legislation were abandoned. In China and India, national climate legislation has made small advances, but expansion of fossil-based long-term infrastructure continues to rise steeply. This paper contextualizes the Cancun conference within the landscape of the different regional climate policy developments during 2010, analyzes the different national expectations of the conference, explains negotiation positions, and analyzes how perceptions of the Cancun conference varied between key countries and regions. The paper concludes with an outlook on challenges to the international climate policy process on the road to COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, in 2011 and suggests rethinking current negotiation procedures in order to secure more ambitious climate policies in the years ahead.