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World leaders gather to cut carbon emissions

A lone wind turbine sticks out along the highway. It's a newly built symbol of Mexico's commitment to climate change. But no locals we talked to know what it's powering.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Today in Cancun, Mexico, leaders from all over the planet are gathered to try again on an agreement to cut carbon emissions. Many of those same leaders met a year ago with no success. There's not much hope for this year, but negotiators do see some bright spots.

From the Sustainability Desk, Marketplace's Eve Troeh is in Cancun for the conference, and she's with us this morning. Good morning Eve.

EVE TROEH: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: Catch us up. Where did things leave off from Copenhagen last year?

TROEH: They left off with some dashed hopes. People really wanted to see a price set and a binding limit on carbon polution around the world. That didn't happen. What we did see was a promise from wealthier, developed countries to give money to developing countries to help them out with climate change. They promised $30 billion by next year -- and $100 billion by 2020. In Copenhagen we also saw world leaders sign a letter, saying waht they would do for climate change in their own countries. That's not backed by a law, but it is something in writing. And that showed some progress.

CHIOTAKIS: So, where does Cancun pick up, Eve?

TROEH: No one here is even talking about catching that big fish, that would be the legally binding global agreement on carbon. Instead the goal is to sort of fill in details of those general commitments signed in Copenhagen last year. Like this money going from rich countries to poorer ones -- how will the UN set up a fund for that, and who will run it? One expert I talked to yesterday called this a more normal climate conference, compared to last year. That might seem like a let down but we're talking about a global deal on carbon. Which would essentially steer the entire world economy away from fossil fuels. So slow grinding change is just the reality on that for now.

CHIOTAKIS: Slow grinding. Alright, Marketplace's Eve Troeh from Cancun. Eve, thank you.

TROEH: Thank you.


CHIOTAKIS: By the way, on our website today we launched the Green Tip and Trade with more than 100 ideas for reducing energy and water use.

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