Cancun negotiators need to play catch-up
“At this point there is a clear disconnect between the stated goal of limiting global warming and international commitments in mitigation and finance,” said Gordon Shepherd, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative. “However we are seeing growing momentum in several countries to act on climate at the national level.”
“The Cancun outcome needs to explicitly recognise the shortfall in action to cut emissions to safe levels and protect people and the planet from climate impacts – and then, building on this national momentum, lay out a clear plan for catching up.”
“The Cancun catch-up plan needs to make progress in several key areas, with the most promising being climate finance, safeguarding forests, finalising the agreement on helping vulnerable people adapt to climate impacts, and building up a transparent system for undertaking emission cuts.”
Among the challenges are questions related to the creation of a legally binding set of commitments to safeguard the planet and its people, including the future role of the Kyoto Protocol. Differences in views on this issue held by key countries, such as Japan, the US, China and India, on what such a treaty should contain continue to slow progress.
“Recently, for example, Japan seems to be digging in its heels about not wanting a Kyoto Protocol, which would make it harder to get an outcome in Cancun on a ‘package of decisions’ unless Japan becomes more constructive,” said Gordon Shepherd.
“What is important for Cancun is to build tools that enable action on the ground and build the architecture for such a global agreement, without waiting for the complete set of solutions to emerge all at once.”
WWF’s view on key issues in Cancun:
- The creation of a global climate fund should be agreed and a clear statement made about how to implement new innovative sources of climate finance that were proposed recently by the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Group.
- The adaptation text must be finalized and decisions must be made on the various options, to open the way for implementing the Adaptation Action Framework for Implementation. On the issue of addressing “loss and damage”, Parties need to be ready to address the fact that some climate impacts are already irreversible and vulnerable countries and communities have a right to be supported once such loss occurs.
- The existing text on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) should be strengthened to establish sound national systems that ensure indigenous people and biodiversity will be protected, and the causes for deforestation are addressed by industrialized and developing countries alike. The “REDD+ partnership”, an initiative by Norway and France with a number of tropical forest countries including Mexico, has already mobilized some USD 4.5 billion to stop tropical forest loss.
- Countries need to formally adopt the emission cut pledges made in the Copenhagen Accord and agree how to measure, report, and verify (“MRV”) these actions. In the run up to Cancun, this has been contentious between the US and China: the US needs to make clear it is willing to commit to sound international rules comparable to those of other industrialized countries. China should also agree to a form of international review of its national mitigation efforts.
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