The annual UN climate conference begins today in Cancun, Mexico. While expectations are low for agreement on a binding climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, agreeing to a catch-up plan should be the top priority, accordign to the World Wildlife Foundation.
"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," he added.
WWF said a catch-up plan needs to make progress in several key areas, particularly climate finance, safeguarding forests, finalizing the agreement on helping vulnerable people adapt to climate impacts, and building up a transparent system for undertaking emission cuts."
WWF's view on key issues in Cancun are as follows:
- 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 $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.
WWF will provide updates throught the conference.
Japan Says Extending Kyoto Pact Is "Meaningless"
Japan opposes extending the Kyoto Protocol binding only rich nations to limit carbon emissions and will fight for a broader deal even if it finds itself isolated at U.N. talks, a senior official said on Thursday.
Read the Reuters story at the link below.