WWF prescribes recipe for climate success in Mexico

Posted on 02 November 2010

With another round of preparatory climate change talks starting in Mexico City this week to get ready for the Cancun climate summit, WWF is publishing a list of “policy prescriptions” for eleven of the world’s most influential nations to bring to the table of the UN climate negotiations.

Gland, Switzerland - With another round of preparatory climate change talks starting in Mexico City this week to get ready for the Cancun climate summit, WWF is publishing a list of “policy prescriptions” for eleven of the world’s most influential nations to bring to the table of the UN climate negotiations.

Delegations from approximately 30 countries are meeting on a ministerial level in Mexico City on 4 and 5 November to hammer out a basis for success when environment ministers meet in Cancun, Mexico, in late November to continue efforts towards a global climate deal.

“These eleven governments have not done enough to get climate policy out of its sick-bed since Copenhagen,” said Gordon Shepherd, Leader of the WWF Global Climate Initiative. “WWF is delivering the right policy prescriptions to restore the talks to good health.”

According to WWF, what happens in Cancun will be critical to piecing together a global agreement and rebuilding confidence after the world failed to reach a deal in Copenhagen last year. Governments have agreed to negotiate a balanced “Cancun package”, the question now is what this package should contain.

“The Cancun meeting itself might not result in a ‘new climate deal’ for our planet. But if these Governments show political leadership there is room for optimism – all of the building blocks are in place to make the Cancun negotiations a success,” added Mr. Shepherd. “World leaders need to take this opportunity in Cancun to put a firm time frame into place for reaching a meaningful legally-binding climate agreement under the UNFCCC by end of 2011 in South Africa.”

Governments of the eleven countries analyzed have a pivotal leadership role to play. They need to come with commitments based on concrete legislative and administrative steps nationally in order to demonstrate their willingness to lead internationally. Other countries can help by supporting and encouraging such initiatives.

Japan, Germany, the UK, Russia and the US governments should come to Cancun by committing without reservation to taking on legally-binding emission reduction targets that match scientific findings. They also should commit to putting in place long-term national action plans for rapidly developing a zero carbon economy.

“The pledges on emission reductions given in Copenhagen clearly are much too low and governments – especially from developed countries - need to recognize that formally and launch a review of how to fill the mitigation gap,” said Mr. Shepherd.

Financing for poorer nations is pivotal for making the climate deal work: apart from US$30 billion pledge for funding up to 2012, developed country governments need to show how they will honor their Copenhagen commitment of US$100 billion by 2020. Germany or the United Kingdom should promote the need to implement innovative finance instruments in the coming year to secure public finance for developing countries. A levy on the aviation and shipping sector or a Financial Transaction Tax are two promising options. Brazil or India should support the establishment of innovative finance instruments such as this.

Such solid commitments by industrialized nations will also help emerging economies such as Brazil or South Africa to bring nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) to Cancun that they are able to commit to. 

Governments also need to agree how they will ensure that the Cancun negotiations lead to a legally binding agreement under the UNFCCC that comes into force by 2012. In Cancun itself a decision needs to be taken on the future negotiation process. China, Russia, the EU and other nations have an important role to play to find a way forward, including securing a future for the Kyoto Protocol.

Governments finally need to agree how they will ensure that national action and funding plans are measurable, reportable, and verifiable (MRV). Recent discussions surrounding MRV issues have stalled, especially between China and the US. Governments are demanding information on what other countries have achieved, but are not matching these requests with their own assurances of international accountability.

“Ministers will need to agree to put in place a legally-binding global climate agreement under the UNFCCC,” said Mr. Shepherd. “They should give primary consideration to the patient – the planet – and stop focusing on obstacles.”

This view of Earth’s horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible.
This view of Earth’s horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible.
© Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.