(Study Material for IPS LCE) Environment: Environment Movement – 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference

(Environment Movement)

Courtesy: various websites


The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held
in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010. The conference is
officially referred to as the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP
16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) and the
6th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the
Parties (CMP 6) to the Kyoto Protocol. In addition, the two permanent subsidiary
bodies of the UNFCCC – the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological
Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)– held their 33rd
sessions. The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference extended the
mandates of the two temporary subsidiary bodies, the Ad Hoc Working Group on
Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and
the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA),
and they met as well.


Following the non-binding Copenhagen Accord put forth in
2009, international expectations for the COP16 conference were reduced. Four
preparatory rounds of negotiations (i.e. sessions of the AWG-KP and the AWG-LCA)
were held during 2010. The first three of these were in Bonn, Germany, from 9 to
11 April, 1 to 11 June (in conjunction with the 32nd sessions of SBSTA and SBI),
and 2 to 6 August. The Bonn talks were reported as ending in failure. The fourth
round of talks in Tianjin, China, made minimal progress and was marked by a
clash between the US and China.The Ambo declaration was adopted at the Tarawa
Climate Change Conference on the 10th November 2010
by Australia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Fiji, Japan, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall
Islands, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tonga. It calls for more and immediate
action, and was slated to be presented at COP 16.


In August 2010, Ban Ki-moon stated that he doubted whether
member states would reach a “globally agreed, comprehensive deal,” suggesting
instead that incremental steps might come. After the Tianjin talks in
October Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said, “This week has got us closer to a structured
set of decisions that can be agreed in Cancun … This is the greatest societal
and economic transformation that the world has ever seen.” Other commentators
spoke of a positive spirit of negotiation and of paving the way for agreement in


The outcome of the summit was an agreement adopted by the
states’ parties that called for a large “Green Climate Fund”, and a “Climate
Technology Centre” and network. It looked forward to a second commitment period
for the Kyoto Protocol.
The agreement recognizes that climate change represents an urgent and
potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet, which needs
to be urgently addressed by all Parties. It affirms that climate change is one
of the greatest challenges of our time and that all Parties must share a vision
for long-term cooperative action in order to achieve the objective of the
Convention, including through achievement of a global goal. It recognizes that
warming of the climate system is scientifically based and that most of the
observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid twentieth century
are very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas
concentrations, as assessed by the IPCC in its Fourth Assessment Report.
The agreement further recognizes that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas
emissions are required, with a view to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions
so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above
pre-industrial levels, and that Parties should take urgent action to meet this
long-term goal, consistent with science and on the basis of equity; and
recognizes the need to consider, in the context of the first review,
strengthening in relation to a global average temperature rise of 1.5°C. The
agreement also notes that addressing climate change requires a paradigm shift
towards building a low-carbon society. The agreement calls on rich countries to
reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as pledged in the Copenhagen Accord, and
for developing countries to plan to reduce their emissions. The agreement
includes a “Green Climate Fund,” proposed to be worth $100 billion a year by
2020, to assist poorer countries in financing emission reductions and
adaptation. There was no agreement on how to extend the Kyoto Protocol, or how
the $100 billion a year for the Green Climate Fund will be raised, or whether
developing countries should have binding emissions reductions or whether rich
countries would have to reduce emissions first. Reuters Environment
Correspondent Alister Doyle reported that to most delegates, though they
approved it, the agreement “fell woefully short of action needed.”
The New York Times described the agreement as being both a “major step forward”
given that international negotiations had stumbled in recent years, and as being
“fairly modest” as it did not require the changes that scientists say are needed
to avoid dangerous climate change. John Vidal, writing in The Guardian,
criticised the Cancun agreements for not providing leadership, for not
specifying how the proposed climate fund will be financed, and for not stating
that countries had to “peak” their emissions within 10 years and then rapidly
reduce them for there to be any chance to avert warming. Also criticised were
the deferral of decisions on the legal form of and level of emission reductions
required. A 40-nation “transition committee” was to meet by the end of March
2011, but it was deferred until late April amid squabbles among Latin American
countries and the Asia bloc about who should be on the committee. The committee
is due to present a complete plan for the fund by the next climate conference in
South Africa starting in November, 2011.


It decides to establish the Cancun Adaptation Framework and
the Adaptation Committee, invites Parties to strengthen and, where necessary,
establish regional adaptation centres and networks and notes that
an international centre to enhance adaptation research and coordination could
also be established in a developing country.


• Developed countries should submit annual greenhouse gas
inventories and inventory reports and biennial reports on their progress.
• Agrees that developing country Parties will take nationally appropriate
mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development, supported and
enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building, aimed at achieving a
deviation in emissions relative to “business as usual” emissions in 2020. It
decides to set up a registry to record nationally appropriate mitigation
actions seeking international support and to facilitate matching of finance,
technology and capacity-building support to these actions. Once support has been
provided they are called internationally supported mitigation actions (ISMAs),
that will be subject to international measurement, reporting and verification.


It takes note of the collective commitment by developed
countries to provide new and additional resources, including forestry and
investments through international institutions, approaching USD 30 billion for
the period 2010–-2012 and recognizes that developed country Parties commit, in
the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation,
to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the
needs of developing countries.
It decides to establish a Green Climate Fund, to be designated as an operating
entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention. Also decides that the Fund
shall be governed by a board of 24 members; the trustee shall administer the
assets of the Green Climate Fund only for the purpose of, and in accordance
with, the relevant decisions of the Green Climate Fund Board.
The conference establishes a Standing Committee under the Conference of the
Parties to assist the Conference of the Parties in exercising its functions with
respect to the financial mechanism


In technology development and transfer, decides to establish
a Technology Mechanism, which will consist of a Technology Executive
Committee and a Climate Technology Centre and Network. The Climate Technology
Centre and Network and the Technology Executive Committee shall relate so as to
promote coherence and synergy. The Technology Executive Committee shall further
implement the framework of the Convention (technology transfer framework) and
Committee shall comprise 20 expert members. The Climate Technology Centre shall
facilitate a Network of national, regional, sectoral and international
technology networks, organizations and initiatives


It reaffirms that capacity-building is essential to enable
developing country Parties to participate fully in addressing the climate change
challenges, and to implement effectively their commitments under the Convention.

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