When Copenhagen ended in disappointing failure last December, one of the first things that world leaders, UN beaurocrats, and this year's COP host, Mexico, began to do was to lower expectations as far as possible for this year's meetings in Cancun in order to avoid the sense of crushing defeat that hung over Copenhagen.  Speaking to reporters in Bonn, outgoing climate chief Yvo de Boer has said, " 'A good outcome of Cancun will be an operational architecture on climate change,' he said. 'And then we can decide on a treaty.' De Boer said he expects such an international climate treaty before the end of 2012, but even that will 'not be the definitive answer to the climate change challenge.'  One might wonder, with all the hype and urgency surrounding Copenhagen as humanity's "last chance" to deal with climate change, how the rhetoric around this year's meeting has suddenly gotten so lax?

It's certainly not the case that indications of oncoming climate change have slowed – between record highs in Pakistan and India, devastating flooding in Rio de Janeiro, and extreme rainfall in Nashville, world leaders ought to be feeling the urgency more than ever.  Especially Mexico, the hosts of this year's meeting, ought to realize that their own country's interests are at stake in hammering out a deal that is ambitious and in line with the latest science, 350ppm.  Just last week, Hurricane Alex swept along Mexico's west coast and inland, causing severe damage in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas and stranding more than 170,000 people.  350 Mexico coordinator Marcelo, who hails from a town near Monterrey, one of the most affected cities, is heading back there this weekend to help his state's disaster response team, and to move his family to higher ground.  The images in Monterrey are not unlike Hurricane Katrina – people stranded on rooftops, no potable food and water, bridges down and streets completely impassable.  Marcelo's family reports that local store owners are gouging prices, charging the equivalent of $20 for a liter of bottled water.

And it's not even supposed to be hurricane season yet, and Monterrey is inland, not typically in the line of fire of these storms.  This storm, and all the other climate impacts appearing all around the world, ought to serve as a stern warning to Mexico's leaders, and all the world's leaders, that there is no time to wait in getting to work on an ambitious international response to climate change.  Please stay involved with keeping the pressure on our leaders this year through getting to work on 10/10/10 – and we'll keep you posted on our efforts from here in Mexico to keep the pressure up on the road to Cancun.   Because for the sake of all the people of Monterrey, Pakistan, Rio de Janeiro, and all the others feeling the impacts of climate all around the world – we can't afford to wait.

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