POST-CANCUN TALKING POINTS
CLIMATE COMEBACK_ THE RACE IS ON
· The outcome of the UN climate talks in Cancun means a major boost for the race to a climate resilient and low-carbon future. Governments have come to an agreement that gives the world reason to be optimistic that the international negotiations can actually deliver a fair, ambitious and binding agreement to tackle climate change. It hasn’t happened in Cancun, but the outcome of this conference is a promising basis for success in Durban next year.
· It seems like governments are finally reacting to the growing climate movement and the positive trend of practical action taken by more and more people who have been rolling up their sleeves and just got on with it despite the let-down of Copenhagen last year. The results reflect the efforts of a growing number of progressive countries, communities, businesses and individuals around the world.
· Cancun did not lead to the end of the multilateral negotiating process which some had feared might happen. Instead, we live to fight another day, and the race to the future is on. Finally the public appetite for change is starting to drive political action in the international negotiations. Our job is now to accelerate this further, as the Cancun agreement leaves some important questions open and needs further strengthening to become an effective response to climate change.
· Cancun saw the vast majority of countries ready to compromise and willing to contribute to a strong global response to climate change that would help transition the global economy and benefit everyone. Thanks to them and the skilful facilitation by the Mexican presidency, some robust frameworks and strong substance as well as a clear mandate to build on both between now and Durban became a possibility. Trust amongst parties and the confidence to deliver a deal that were lost in Copenhagen have been restored here in Cancun.
· Much more is needed and would have been possible. The UNFCCC is not to blame for any gaps in the outcome, it’s only a handful of governments dragging their feet. They do this in whatever forum the issue is discussed. Countries like Japan, Russia and the US insisted on their extreme red-lines until the last minute and rejected the more ambitious compromise formulas proposed by more progressive parties. They are the reason why Cancun didn’t agree deeper emission reductions and more financial support for those who are most vulnerable to dangerous climate impacts.
· Major emerging economies like China, India or Brazil showed more flexibility and backed their political rhetoric with concrete achievements on the low-carbon front. Members of the Cartagena Dialogue, a group of developed and developing countries with advanced low-carbon strategies, provided compromise formulas. These and other countries are emerging as a leadership group that will be crucial for success in Durban and the global response to climate change – inside and outside the UNFCCC. Building on the momentum from Cancun and their leadership experience, a fair, ambitious and binding treaty must be the goal now.
· Having such a global climate regime is more important than ever, as precious time in the urgent fight against climate change has passed without decisive action in many countries. Incentives from the top are key to boosting bottom up action. That’s why the multilateral process aimed at a global climate treaty is so vital, and this sign of life that negotiators in Cancun are sending to the world so important. Many of them showed willingness to work together for the common good, overcoming narrow-minded and misguided self-interest.
· It’s this spirit, combined with the momentum we see outside of the official talks, that will eventually help us win the fight for a safer world for future generations. The strong climate treaty that’s now possible will create the conditions for communities to develop sustainably, for economies to make the low-carbon transition, and for business and investors make smarter, climate-friendly investments that benefit them and the climate. Moving forward, the climate movement is growing in strength and momentum and will redouble its resolve to achieve a fair, ambitious and binding global agreement.
· The survival of people, rare species, precious ecosystems and entire nations is still at stake. In order to ensure it we still need to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C. The tragic irony was lost on no one that as countries moved into the final hours of the Cancun climate talks, NASA announced that 2010 now ranks as the hottest year on record. If we don’t want coming years to be even hotter, we better start closing the gap between current mitigation targets and what science says is needed – quickly.