Addressing the media on the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said that Cancun can launch a new era in the pace of global action on climate change.
Cancun will not solve everything and the outcome needs to be pragmatic, but Cancun also needs to keep ambition very much alive, she said.
Specifically, Figures said that governments can reach a deal to launch action on adaptation, technology transfer, and forests and they can create a new fund for long-term climate finance.
She also said that governments can clarify what to do about the Kyoto Protocol and how to anchor the many national targets and actions that countries have put forward – in particular the targets of industrialized countries.
Figures also pointed to some of the difficulties involved in getting some nations onboard.”The truth is, she said, “even if all the national targets and actions now on the table are honored in full – and the world does expect them to be honored – they will not meet the goal of avoiding a rise of over two degrees in global temperatures.”
Giving some critics fodder, Figures also said that the solutions to climate change not only address the environmental problem but also offer “major opportunities for all nations to achieve sustainable, affordable, and equitable development. The world is looking for new answers to the political, economic and social challenges which all countries face. Traditional responses are failing to produce lasting results.”
Some critics have said that the UN’s climate work is just a way to redistribute wealth among nations.