Key Challenges in Reaching Consensus on Climate Change

IFAW and other stakeholders in Cancun, Mexico are hoping that the negotiations here will lead ultimately to a legally-binding agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a level that will help evade the worst effects of global warming.

IFAW is working with partner organizations and country delegations to monitor the negotiations and help achieve meaningful steps forward in key areas leading to a fair, ambitious, and binding agreement on all nations.  Important issues at the 16th Convention of the Parties (COP16) to the UNFCCC include:

  • Setting emissions reduction targets and convergence between the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and the second negotiations track called for in the “Bali Roadmap.”
  • The creation of a single, permanent “Climate Fund” to help developing countries achieve emissions reductions, adapt to the impacts of climate change, and provide for sustainable economic development.
  • Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) of adaptation and emissions reduction/mitigation activities in both developing and developed nations, as well as of contributions to and dispersals from the Climate Fund and other financial support mechanisms.
  • Strategic goals, finance, and structure of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program and integrity and accounting in emissions due to Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) practices.
  • A framework for adaptation activities with a particular focus on the Least Developed Countries (LDC’s), vulnerable peoples, and imperiled ecosystems, and strategies for promoting and funding risk assessment, disaster preparedness and disaster mitigation activities.

So far, however, no concrete proposals have been made or key provisions negotiated, and parties to the UNFCCC and observers like IFAW are waiting for drafting and contact groups to report back before they’ll know how – and if – things are progressing.  The groups should begin reporting later in the week just as ministers and heads of state from around the world begin arriving for the second week of talks.

The U.S. has decided to send White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Nancy Sutley, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu to Cancun for the second week of talks instead of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama, who attended the talk last year in Copenhagen. Reports indicate that the officials will attend primarily to highlight U.S. accomplishments in greenhouse gas emissions reductions, energy efficiency and forest conservation.

-- PT

Stay tuned for more posts this week from Paul Todd and the UNFCCC event.

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