International negotiators are flocking to Poznań, Poland to figure out how to extend the Kyoto protocol, whose climate targets end in 2012. I believe that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process is essentially dead — especially from a United States perspective — as I will discuss this week.

Still, Poznań will be getting a lot of media attention from December 1 to 12, even if the United States is still represented by a bunch of bad cops. So here’s what you need to know. As the website on Poznań, aka COP-14, explains:

The 14th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the 4th meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol is expected to draw around 9000 participants, including government delegates from the 185 Parties to the UNFCCC and representatives from business and industry.

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The two-week meeting is the halfway mark in the negotiations on an ambitious and effective international climate change deal to be clinched in Copenhagen in 2009 … Parties are expected to:

  • Agree on a plan of action and programmes of work for the final year of negotiations after a year of comprehensive and extensive discussions on crucial issues relating to future commitments, actions and cooperation
  • Make significant progress on a number of on-going issues required to enhance further the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, including capacity-building for developing countries, reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD), technology transfer and adaptation.
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  • Advance understanding and commonality of views on “shared vision” for a new climate change regime
  • Strengthen commitment to the process and the agreed timeline

Such an outcome at Poznań would build momentum towards an agreed outcome at Copenhagen in December 20.

I don’t think Copenhagen (COP-15, December 2009) will see a particularly useful outcome, since Barack Obama won’t be able to get the Senate to ratify whatever treaty comes out of it. That will be the subject of a series of posts this week.

In the meantime, you can follow progress activity at Poznań on Twitter if you click here.

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.