Global climate talks should aim this year to reach a political agreement, with details of a treaty to be negotiated later, said London School of Economics professor Nicholas Stern.
“A strong political agreement is fundamental to any step forward,” Stern, a former climate-change adviser to the U.K. government, said today during a panel discussion at the International Monetary Fund in Washington. “We should avoid jumping to a treaty story but settle the key political and economic issues in Cancun,” Mexico, where the talks are to take place in November and December.
The Kyoto climate-protection treaty expires in 2012, and negotiators are trying to work out new mechanisms to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. The Copenhagen summit last year failed to lead to a binding agreement, with negotiators settling for a more limited political accord.
Stern published in 2006 a widely cited study of climate- change economics for the British government. His report said global warming may cost the world as much as 20 percent of its gross domestic product because of the effects of famine, rising sea levels, storms and other environmental damage.