United Nations global climate delegates worked till the early hours Saturday, to wrap up COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, with a document. The “Cancun Agreement” locks in emissions reductions targets for 80% of global emissions, notably including China and the US.
“This is the first time we’ve seen the US together with China and all other major emitters anchoring their national pollution targets in a formal UN agreement – the significance of this should not be underestimated,” said Erwin Jackson, Climate Institute Deputy CEO. “While some aspects are disappointing … the Cancun talks produced a formal UN decision anchoring pollution limitation and reduction targets covering over 80 percent of global emissions,” said Jackson.
The official UN document was signed by all nations, except Bolivia, reported U.K. daily The Telegraph, whose objections were overruled by Patricia Espinosa, Mexican foreign secretary and president of the talks.
The document makes significant progress from COP15 in Copenhagen last year. “While there is much work yet to do, the success of the UN conference on climate change in Cancun has set the world on the path to a safer, more prosperous, and sustainable world for all,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the green of most importance was money suggesting “that rich countries would spend potentially trillions of dollars to help poor countries develop on a greener path.”
Indeed, an achievement of Cancun is consensus on the establishment of the Green Climate Fund, a financing system for poorer countries to tap in order to decrease their use of pollution-intensive energy sources, and adapt and respond to climate-change related natural hardships. Richer countries will contribute $100 billion annually to the fund by 2020, as reported by India’s Daily Star.
USAToday reported on other initiatives outlined in the agreement including: a financial framework to protect tropical forests and prevent clear-cutting, and the establishment of a Technology Executive Committee, a group that will oversee the process of transferring clean energy technologies to poor nations.
The Cancun summit brought into focus the “the scene of a battle” when additional emissions reductions targets laid out in the Kyoto Protocol are to be discussed at next year’s Conference of the Parties (COP17) scheduled for Nov. 28 – Dec. 11, 2011, in South Africa.