As the UN climate summit opens on Monday in Durban, some contours of the fight ahead can be discerned.
For starters, the Kyoto vs anti-Kyoto Protocol line appears to be getting shaky. Small countries, including threatened islands and the European Union (EU), want to get to a climate deal quickly, in fact as early as 2015.
India, along with Brazil, Japan, Russia and Canada, has argued against haste. These divisions became apparent during the 12th meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in the US earlier this month.
This coming together of climate change adversaries, so to speak, promises to create friction at Durban. While it’s too early to speculate, it is possible that Durban may see no deal on the subject. Mutual lack of trust—always healthy in multilateral settings, where rivals can undercut each other—is ensuring a glacial pace of climate negotiations.