Cancun Climate Wrap Up

Now that the Cancun Climate Negotiations are over, you might be wondering exactly what went down. Over at the Green Party Blog, party leader Elizabeth May has posted a good summary of the events and the final agreement.  I've posted a few excerpts after the jump.  The full entry is here

From: "Copenhagen to Cancun: what just happened?"

The documents do not by themselves obligate governments to take any new steps.  What they do is build a strong foundation for agreements to be reached at COP17 next year in Durban, South Africa.

The language is strong and unequivocal.  In the LCA decision it is stated “climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet, and thus requires to be urgently addressed by all Parties.” (Kyoto Protocol text)

The decisions confirm that the science and IPCC advice is compelling.  It commits to find ways to avoid allowing global average temperature from increasing to 2 degrees C, but recognizes the need to consider that the high point should be 1.5 degrees C. For the first time in a UN decision, it mandates that all nations should immediately determine the year by which GHG emissions should peak and begin to fall. It states all parties agree “that Parties should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.”  It states that industrialized countries should reduce emissions by 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Further it states that “addressing climate change requires a paradigm shift towards building a low-carbon society that offers substantial opportunities….

It deals extensively with the need for adaptation (creating a Cancun Adaptation Framework and Adaptation committee), for financing, it creates a new Green Climate Fund, as well as funding to help arrest deforestation.  There are many detailed elements.  Not all were great. Many were disappointed to see Carbon Capture and Storage added  to acceptable technologies for the Clean Development Mechanism.

New and welcome elements were language recognizing the importance of human rights in implementing climate policy, respect for indigenous peoples, women, and gender-related issues, and a clear victory for labour in the reference to the need for a “just transition.”  Cities and sub-national governments finally get the respect they deserve as partners.

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This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

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