Cancun Agreement: Will There be a Global Climate Deal?

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Governements in Cancun, Mexico have decided to ignore fear and follow hope by putting the building blocks back in place for a global deal to beat climate change.

It has been years since governements have put aside their major differences and welcomed compromise in an attempt to reach a climate agreement.

The ride isn’t always smooth though, and with compromise comes frustration. While the UN climate conference in Cancun has set discussions back on the right path, we have yet to see any positive physical results from the talks.

While it’s a step forward that governments are refraining from walk-outs, talk-collapses and receiving public booing, co-operation and compromise is not yet yielding finals decisions or results.

There are still a few countries holding the progress back with negative influences such as America, Japan and Russia, with the latter two being unhelpful with their statements against the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. arrived in Mexico with inadequate commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. As the country with the highest amount of emissions it failed to take responsibility and thus takes no steps forward.

According to the Cancun agreement governments have quite some work to do to follow through on the talks, especially with regards to cutting emissions. The issue cannot be left in the hands of our governments; those that belong to civil society need to take a unified stand and demand that their respective leaders focus on redoubling efforts to change attitudes and actions at home.

There are a few points that need to be followed to make the agreement a real and good one:

1. Climate finance: Governements established a fund to deliver the billions needed for the developing world to deal with climate change and halt deforestation. There was no agreement made in terms of the provision of that money.

2. The protection of tropical forests: The decision as to the mechanism that will protect the forests as well as safeguarding indigenous peoples’ rights and biodiversity has not been properly decided. The REDD agreement sidesteps some vital parts that need to be defined and strengthened.

3. Governments acknowledged the gap between current weak efforts and pledges to cut greenhouse emissions and where they need to get to. They also calculated that cuts need to be between 25 and 40 percent by 2020, and global temperature rise needs to be kept below two degrees.

The problem has been discussed and the severity of the situation acknowledged. Now governments need to come up with a deal to start-off the efforts to make the needed changes. The deal must be struck in a few months from now at the Durban, South Africa for COP17 talks.