Cancun Builds Momentum

much more work to be done to save the climate

Feature story - December 13, 2010
Governments at the Climate Change talks in Cancun have chosen hope over fear and put the world on a difficult but now possible-to-navigate path to a global deal to stop dangerous climate change.

“From stumbling blocks to building blocks, governments in Cancun have demonstrated that they can cooperate and can move forward to achieve a global deal to save the climate,” said Shailendra Yashwant, Campaign Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“This year the world experienced more consequences of a changing climate - record heat, catastrophic natural disasters, and near-record melting sea ice in the Arctic. This is why next year’s talks in Durban, South Africa, must be the destination for a strong deal, not just another stop along the way.”

At the conclusion of the Cancun meeting, Governments not only acknowledged the gap between their current weak pledges and where they need to get to, they actually stated that emissions cuts needed to be in line with the science - 25-40% cuts by 2020 - and that they need to keep global temperature rise below two degrees.

On the key issue of climate finance, Governments established a climate fund to deliver the billions needed for the developing world to deal with climate change and stop deforestation. But they didn’t establish any way of providing that money.

Another major decision on the table in Cancun deals with a mechanism that will protect tropical forests while safeguarding indigenous peoples' rights and biodiversity. The REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) agreement sidesteps some critical parts that must be defined and strengthened over the coming months.

ASEAN played a very positive role and spoke with one voice at the Cancun climate change talks, demonstrated in Vietnam’s high-level statement on behalf of ASEAN, calling for prioritised financial and technical support in responding to climate change, considering that ASEAN is a key global food producer and exporter and one of the regions that is most vulnerable to climate change.

Vietnam also echoed the ASEAN positions that the Kyoto Protocol must continue to serve as the basic legal framework and legal instrument for the international community to combat climate change; developed countries should make more ambitious commitments and set specific and binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets; developing countries should be encouraged to develop and implement Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) on a voluntary basis; and an agreement on REDD plus must be reached.

Zelda Soriano, Greenpeace Political Advisor from Cancun said “ASEAN Governments must continue the positive work done in Cancun and make more contributions in the process leading to South Africa COP in 2011. The A-FAB coalition (ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious, and Binding Global Deal) commends the particular leadership of Vietnam in Cancun; Thailand's initiative and the Philippines' encouraging role in the ASEAN ministerial meeting to make ASEAN an important and strong voice in the international climate change negotiations. A-FAB supports ASEAN in this endeavour and ASEAN's commitments in its regional platform, the ASEAN Climate Change Initiative.”