by Liu Lili
MEXICO CITY, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The long journey to counter climate change is arriving at an important station when the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-16) starts in Mexico's resort city of Cancun on Nov. 29.
Ahead of the conference, which will run until Dec. 10, optimism remains for substantial progress in dual-track negotiations on the "Bali Map Road", though the international community agrees it may be difficult to achieve a legally binding agreement.
OPTIMISM, THOUGH CAUTIOUS, REMAINS
The conference will gather participants from governments, businesses, non government organizations and research institutions from 180 countries.
It is the penultimate opportunity for parties to reach a legally binding treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire in 2012.
Though most of the parties are cautiously optimistic the completion of the "Bali Road Map" can be clinched at Cancun, they are expecting substantial progress to be made in negotiations on issues such as green technology transfer and additional financing for developing countries.
"It is difficult to reach a legally binding at Cancun, but I think the achievements at Cancun conference will exceed Copenhagen," Vanessa Perez-Cirera, director of climate change at the Mexican branch of World Wildlife Fund, said in an interview with Xinhua.
Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa said the public should not use a legally binding treaty as the only standard to measure the success of the Cancun talks. "I don't think this is the right approach under the current circumstances."
The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention Christiana Figueres is relatively optimistic about the conference, saying the parties can make agreements on some aspects such as adaptation, technology transfer, forestry protection and finance support.