Cancun Climate Summit, part 2


Global Temperature Anomaly Map 2000-2009, NASA

(see my previous post for background info on the Cancun Climate Summit)

The Cancun Climate Summit, 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) wrapped up on Saturday morning. With modest expectations widely held after the last years’ highly anticipated COP15 in Copenhagen failed to come to an accord, in the end the Cancun summit has succeeded in achieving a broad-based consensus and vision, if not a road map on how to get there.

Delegates from 194 countries remained deadlocked over the week of meetings in Cancun until a compromise was dramatically reached on the closing day. The conference did not produce another legally binding framework like 1997’s Kyoto Protocol- the terms of which expire next year- but it puts into place the building blocks for such an agreement to be forged.

Key goals include:

– Industrialized countries are charged with developing low carbon development plans and strategies and assessments to meet them.

– A Green Climate Fund will be established and administered by the United Nations in order to provide financial support to the climate change mitigation goals of developing nations. A total of $30 billion in “fast start” finance from developed nations will be secured up to 2012, with a goal of $100 billion in longterm funds to 2020.

– For the first time, a U.N. document sets the imperative that global temperatures must not rise more than 2 degrees C, based on pre-industrial levels.

– A new “Cancun Adaptation Framework” will become established to help undeveloped nations with the necessary planning and technical support to implement their climate mitigation goals.

The next U.N. Climate Change Summit will take place next winter in Durban, South Africa.


More on the outcome of the COP16 Summit:

U.N. Climate Talks End, The Wall Street Journal

Progress on Climate Fund, but Questions Remain, Mother Jones

The United Nations Framework on Climate Change website

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Cancun Climate Summit, part 1


A crowd gathers in front of Copenhagen’s Bela Center  in 2009 where the COP15 talks took place. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is now underway in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10. The conference, also known as COP16/CMP6, represents the 16th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) and the 6th Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP).


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992 and came into force in March of 1994. It is ratified by 194 parties. The purpose of the Framework is to acknowledge among nations the shared interest in climate change mitigation and preparedness for any inevitable rises in temperature.

One outcome of the COP is 1997’s Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol went a step further than the Framework by setting legally binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions among 37 industrialized nation signatories and the European Union, representing an average pledge of five per cent reductions against 1990 levels during the five-year period 2008-2012. As of November 2010, 192 states have ratified. The United States has never ratified or put the Protocol into force, although it remains a part of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This Year’s Conference

Expectations for the COP16 appear to be cautious, if not low. The Conference is hosting about 15,000 participants- just a fraction of the 50,000 strong delegation that turned out to Copenhagen’s COP15 in 2009. Facing down the disappointing lack of accord in the Copenhagen talks, the continued strife in the global economy and not much hype from the media, the Cancun talks have their work cut out.

Below is a link round-up of early developments and perspectives on the talks:

Cancun and the new economics of climate change,  U.K. Guardian

Cancun climate change summit: America plays tough, U.K. Guardian

Climate Change Conference begins in Mexico, Voice of America

Cancun’s First Goal: Do Better than Copenhagen, Time Magazine

Watch live and on-demand webcasts of the conference at the UNFCCC website, here.

Visit the U.K. Guardian’s Interactive Timeline of Climate Talks, here.