There is already ample evidence that humanity isn't acting quickly enough to address climate change. The need for greater action in 2015 is obvious. And there are plenty of reasons to believe that countries can get their act together by then.
In unveiling the U.S. National Climate Action Plan, President Obama signaled two important things that will help international efforts to address climate change -- he signaled that the U.S will act at home to reduce its pollution and it will take steps to help secure strong international action.
From devastating floods in China and the Philippines to droughts in Africa, the same extreme weather patterns that have hit the United States have impacted locations around the world. This is the face of global warming.
Each country can make strong shifts which will ensure that Durban defines a clear mandate to negotiate a new legally binding agreement in the immediate future. Let's hope they take this opportunity and help the world move forward to address global warming.
The U.S. must show leadership by helping craft a path to get a new legal agreement, not throw up barriers at the outset. They need to ensure that they aren't allergic to the meal that is served, but they can't demand that everything on the menu meet their tastes at the outset.
Having a strong, credible, and transparent system for tracking greenhouse gas emissions and the actions of a country is an essential building block of an effective international system to address global warming.
If you believe, as I do, that real action can occur without a "binding" agreement or having all the details completed, you'll be surprised to learn that some key things might actually be happening in Cancun.