Kate Mackenzie Take your Cancun potshots here

Just in case the pessimism from Yvo de Boer and Connie Hedegaard over the post-Copenhagen meeting in Cancun later this year wasn’t enough…

It sounds as though government officials and pundits were, at a Wednesday clean energy conference in London, lining up to talk down the likelihood of an international climate change agreement being struck this year.

From Bloomberg:

“We will not likely have in Cancun a comprehensive legal agreement,” Jos Delbeke, director-general of climate action for the European Commission [...]

And from Japan, a warning that expectations may have been too high for Copenhagen – and that that’s a mistake which shouldn’t be repeated:

“We shouldn’t raise too high the expectations for Cancun,” said Shimada, principal international negotiator at the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.

In a separate story from the same conference run by New Energy Finance, which Bloomberg recently bought, the wire service quotes Abyd Karmali, global head of carbon markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as saying “The expectations for a legally binding treaty are diminishing,” and pointing to the ever-shrinking likelihood of the US passing a comprehensive climate bill this year.

Other attendees quoted in the article, including James Rogers of Duke Energy (which is relatively pro-clean energy), were also pessimistic about the odds of that happening. Without a US commitment, other big polluters such as China are, of course, unlikely to agree to binding commitments, let alone make their targets more specific and ambitious.

Only NEF chief executive Michael Liebreich and Michael Jacobs, advisor to UK prime minister Gordon Brown were quoted as being more positive. But that is a government that is about to go into a very difficult election, with green credentials being one of many fronts it is battling on.

Related links:

The post-Copenhagen decade (FT Energy Source)
Developed vs developing country climate tensions still going strong (FT Energy Source)
Will there be a US climate bill left? (FT Energy Source)