Talking Hands Provide Perfect Summary of the Cancun Climate Talks

This goofy two-minute video by some British kids does a better job explaining the overall arc of the Cancun climate talks than most mainstream media.

Remember those big United Nations climate change talks in Cancun? They came and went without all that much attention or coverage here in the United States, and you'd be forgiven for not knowing exactly what happened. (Though we did devote quite a few posts to the meetings, including some great insider accounts and a big reaction roundup.) The truth is, international negotiations are absurdly confusing—what with the acronyms and "non-papers" and bizarre diplomatic protocol— and practically impenetrable to all but the dedicated few who routinely attend these events and immerse themselves in the UNFCCC.

It's perhaps fitting then that the best overall roundup I've found of the Cancun climate talks comes in the form of a goofy two-minute video of "talking hands" put together by a bunch of youth climate activists.


Yes, it's silly and oversimplifies everything, but in terms of what actually happened at the meetings—the true narrative arc of the talks—I believe this to be the best, most accessible summary out there. Somehow, the crude hand actors perfectly capture the unfortunate "all talk, little action" spirit of the UNFCCC. One particularly clever observation is how the U.S. hand sits silent throughout the video. Big props to the UK Youth Climate Coalition for putting it together.