In many ways, the 2010 Cancun meeting, the sixteenth such conference, is likely to be a turning point. Many climate experts, as well as journalists, question whether the cumbersome UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will even survive after this in its current form.

In the future, the policy story will increasingly focus on bilateral negotiations between the U.S. and other countries, such as China, as well as efforts to get the powerful nations of the G-20, which covers about 85 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, to come to the table. Coverage of the accumulating scientific evidence documenting current impact and predicting what’s to come goes hand in hand with the policy. So, at the end of a decade of mounting international concern about climate change but little action, journalists covering climate need to settle in for the long haul. The problem certainly isn’t going away, and neither is the debate about what to do about it.

Cristine Russell is a CJR contributing editor and the president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and a senior fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She is a former Shorenstein Center fellow and Washington Post reporter.