Cancun deal a step in right direction

Cancun Beach
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Cancun – Governments in Cancun have chosen hope over fear and put the world on a difficult but now possible-to-navigate path to a global deal to stop dangerous climate change.

“Cancun may have saved the process but it did not yet save the climate,” said Virginie Lambert Ferry, Greenpeace Canada climate and energy campaigner. “Some called the process dead, but governments have shown that they can cooperate and can move forward to achieve a global deal.”

This year the world experienced more consequences of a changing climate with record heat, catastrophic natural disasters, and near-record melting of sea ice in the Arctic. This is why next year’s talks in Durban, South Africa, must result in a strong deal, not just another stop along the way.

“Cancun has delivered momentum – but we haven’t arrived there yet. In Durban we need a global deal that helps countries build a green economy and that holds polluters accountable,” said Lambert Ferry.

Highlights from the Cancun climate conference:

  • On the key issue in Cancun of climate finance, governments established a climate fund to deliver the billions needed for the developing world to deal with climate change and stop deforestation. But they didn’t establish any way of providing that money.
  • Another major decision on the table in Cancun deals with a mechanism that will protect tropical forests while safeguarding indigenous peoples’ rights and biodiversity. The REDD (Reduced Emissions on Degradation and Deforestation) agreement sidesteps some critical parts that must be defined and strengthened over the coming months.
  • Governments not only acknowledged the gap between their current weak pledges and where they need to get to, they actually stated that emissions cuts needed to be in line with the science (25-40 per cent cuts by 2020) and that they need to keep global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

More would have been accomplished in Cancun if not for the negative influence of the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan. The latter two were unhelpful by their statements against the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. The US came to Mexico with feeble commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, despite being the world’s largest historical emitter, watered down several important areas of agreement and put a successful outcome in doubt.

“Despite its eagerness to block the adoption of ambitious climate policies domestically and internationally, Canada did not manage to prevent progress in Cancun,” said Lambert Ferry. “The Harper government needs to wake up and realize that the world is moving on. It is high time that Canada started to do its fair share in the fight against climate change. It must stop putting the interests of the fossil fuel industry above those of the climate and of Canadians.”

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