Looking Towards Forging a Climate Pact in Mexico Next Year
New York, 22 December - While most countries are not happy with the outcome of this month's summit on climate change in Copenhagen, "really good progress" was made towards a binding agreement "to save the world," with the United Nations leading the way to possible adoption at next year's meeting in Mexico, UN General Assembly President Ali Treki said yesterday.
"There are complaints that some countries have not been dealt with carefully, other countries believe it was not democratic, other groups believe that the matter has been out of the hand of the UN and they would like also that UN would take over this problem again," he told a year-end news conference in New York about the summit, which set no mid- or long-term limits on global warming greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries.
"But I think we should be realistic that what happened there, it is really something positive," he said, noting that he had not expected a concrete binding resolution to emerge. "I think that the conclusion of a certain agreement was really good progress and we have to follow that up," he added.
"We all agree that the United Nations should take the lead and we'll continue to take the lead and we will have certainly the summit of Mexico. We'll finish what we have started in Copenhagen. But I'm very happy that the majority of countries of the world are aware of the dangers of this problem and they would like to do what they have to do to save the world and to have an agreement, a binding agreement," he concluded.
Last week countries attending the UN climate convention's summit in Copenhagen agreed to 'take note' of a document entitled the Copenhagen Accord.
For the first time in the history of climate change cooperation, developing countries including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and the small and threatened Republic of the Maldives outlined intentions to decouple emissions from economic growth.
Developed countries including the United States will also outline a range of emission reductions targets up to 2020 by 1 February 2010. Both commitments and intentions in terms of greenhouse gas reductions will be subject to international monitoring and verification.
Countries accepted to work towards limiting the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, emission reduction commitments by 2050 were in the end not included in the final document.
Importantly, the Accord outlines support for technology transfer and capacity building for developing economies while also putting forward a financial package aimed at assisting developing ones adapt to climate change and to begin de-carbonizing their economies.
Additional resources of US$30 billion, covering the period 2010-2012, will be available immediately and developed nations also supported a "goal of mobilizing jointly US$100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries".
The Accord recognized the crucial role of forests in addressing climate change, saying their was a need to recognize reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) via the immediate establishment of a mechanism to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization and the UN Development Programme are spearheading the UN REDD programme which is already assisting close to a dozen developing countries prepare for a REDD regime.
UN-REDD dovetails with other initiatives, including the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.
The culmination of two weeks of talks and two years of negotiations, today's outcome was welcomed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said: "The U.N. system will work to immediately start to deliver meaningful results to people in need and jump-start clean-energy growth in developing countries."
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, said: "This was perhaps not the big breakthrough some had hoped for, but neither was it a breakdown which at times seemed a possibility. The litmus test of developed countries' ambitions will in a sense come immediately. If the funds promised in the Accord start flowing swiftly and to the levels announced, then a new international climate change policy may have been born."
Notes to Editors:
United Nations Climate Change Conference http://www.unep.org/climatechange/CopenhagenCOP15
Seal the Deal 2009 http://www.sealthedeal2009.org/
The UN-led Seal the Deal campaign, working with various civil society groups, coalesced around 13 million signatures from all around the world asking for a fair, equitable and ambitious deal.