Let’s Make a Deal: Compromise and Clarity in Cancun

Written by Paul Mackie on . Posted in Learn, The Wonk Room

Early Saturday morning, the 16th meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun ended with the countries of the world recognizing the urgency of achieving a global climate pact. The compromise reached in Cancun showed that – even through the dark days of last year’s disappointment at Copenhagen – when countries have the political will and unity, they can come together to advance a global effort on climate change.

“We have noted all week how business-like the negotiations have been,” said Duncan Marsh, international climate policy director at The Nature Conservancy. “After hearing from many delegations – including, China, India, and many others – this is an important step in a long process to build a global response to climate change.”

In the wee hours of the night, there was also a never-before-seen spirit of unity in addressing the issue of climate change in a collective global way. The Nature Conservancy commends the government of Mexico for setting a new standard in running an exceptionally clear and transparent process.

“The COP 16 roller coaster had its share of ups and downs, but the solid steering of Mexico has put the UN process back on track,” said Andrew Deutz, director of international government relations at The Nature Conservancy.  “While the agreement is not perfect, it keeps the world rolling along on the right path.”

The Cancun Agreement is an important stepping stone toward adopting a legally-binding deal as soon as possible. It sets out a global target of limiting temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit; anchors the emissions-reductions commitments and actions pledged last year in Copenhagen into a legal framework; lays the foundation for a system to protect the world’s tropical forests; establishes a new Green Climate Fund; and enhances systems for ensuring transparency of actions and financing.

“The REDD decision here in Cancun is a watershed for the world’s tropical forests,” added Marsh. “Countries committed to reducing deforestation such as Brazil, Mexico, and Indonesia have received a strong signal by the international community that those efforts will be acknowledged and rewarded as climate change solutions.”

The meeting adopted the Adaptation Framework, and recognized the critical role that ecosystems can play in helping communities and countries adapt to climate change.

Additionally, the conference formally recognized the $30 billion in near-term climate change assistance for developing countries promised in Copenhagen and agreed to establish the Green Climate Fund to channel long-term finance for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

This is the press release issued to journalists around 4 a.m. CST after the deal was done.

(Image: Standing ovation for Cancun agreement. Courtesy of FLICKR user UN Climate Talks. Used Under a Creative Commons License.)

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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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