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Mark Kinver | 14:04 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

This edition of Green Room takes a look at post-summit reflections on the UN climate talks as the dust settles on the annual gathering, and offers you a seasonal suggestion that will warm more than just your heart.

Cancun concludes

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

After Cancun, are things looking up for the UN climate process?

So this year's climate summit in Mexico has concluded with a modest deal that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said has "set the world on the path to a safer, more prosperous, and sustainable world for all".

However, after two weeks of negotiations, it was only the late intervention of the hosts that prevented the annual global gathering becoming, in the words of the UK Climate Secretary Chris Huhne, a "car crash" conference.

Not everyone had a rose-tinted outlook on what was achieved. The UK's Guardian carried a story that suggested that the deal rescued the UN process's credibility after last year's failings in Copenhagen, but fell short on delivering meaningful measures.

An editorial by the New Zealand Herald was much more scathing, saying that the aftermath of these annual events were becoming "depressingly familiar".

Much is being made of the small steps agreed upon after two weeks of tortuous negotiations and how these can be built upon at the next meeting a year hence.

Little is said of yet another failure to arrive at a legally binding pact that obliges the world's major emitters to meet serious greenhouse gas targets. Nor is it mentioned that the obstacles to such an agreement remain firmly in place.

The blog 350 or Bust, which wants atmospheric carbon dioxide limited to 350 parts per million (it is currently above 350 ppm), said that politicians at the Mexican coastal resort had fallen well short of what the science showed was needed to curb climate change.

But it did acknowledge that the idea of the meeting delivering legally binding emission targets was never on the agenda. Instead, the main focus was on the need to pick up the pieces from last year's Copenhagen conference (as BBC environment correspondent Richard Black pointed out back in July).

All in all, it was a business-like summit that was of little interest to mainstream broadcasters. But there was one story that did capture editors' attention back in the UK - whether or not Mr Huhne would have to leave the talks to attend a key vote in the House of Commons.

After a few hours of confusion and usual political mudslinging, it was announced that Mr Huhne would remain in Mexico. So was it an outbreak of common sense? Was it the result of the political parties sitting down and behaving like mature, responsible human beings?

Well, according to the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), it was the result of a "twitter-storm", as thousands of people used the social network software to ask Mr Huhne to stay put.

And who was responsible for unleashing the technological tempest? A press release by the UKYCCC provides an answer:

"The twitter-storm was initiated by the UK Youth Climate Coalition, and subsequently Nick Clegg made a decision to let the energy minister stay."

So not all of the youth of Britain were venting their anger in central London or reportedly poking royals with a big stick last Thursday, some were too busy tweeting Mr Huhne.

A winter warmer

And finally, as the season of goodwill is upon us, spare a thought for our featherless friends that have worked so tirelessly to bring us our daily egg.

Charity Little Hen Rescue is looking for people to either adopt or foster ex-battery hens. However, if you are somewhat of a traditionalist and prefer to have a bird in the oven rather than one scratching up your garden, they are also looking for volunteers to knit woolly jumpers for the girls.

In case you are interested, all you need to bring a little warmth into a life of a recently retired hen (they do not qualify for the winter heating allowance) is a ball of double knitting yarn, a couple of buttons, a pair of number eight knitting needles and a 4mm crochet hook.

Go on, it may be the first thing you have knitted that will be worn longer than just a few hours on Christmas Day.

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