Carlos Navarro

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Depending on whom you ask, the UN conference on climate change in Cancún, Mexico, on Nov. 29-Dec. 11, 2010, was a total failure or a step in the right direction to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, generally thought to be responsible for the warming of the Earth's atmosphere. The Cancún gathering was also known as COP16—-an abbreviation for the sixteenth edition of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Those who viewed the results of COP16 with the "glass-is-half-full" premise included the host of the gathering, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, who said the agreements reached at the conference "put Mexico and the whole world on the right path to confront the threat of global warming and climate change." Critics argued that the industrialized nations did not make sufficient commitments to reduce emissions, and, because of that, any agreements reached in Cancún were hollow and ineffective. The harshest criticisms came from Bolivian President Evo Morales, who chided the industrialized countries for their refusal to make a binding commitment to reduce emissions. Morales and other critics, including the environmental organization Greenpeace, pointed out that the poorest nations produce the least emissions but would suffer the most from the impact of flooding, drought, and other effects of the warming of the global atmosphere.