COP 16

In just two days, hundreds of country delegations will once again come together for the UN Climate Summit – this time in Cancun, Mexico. Last year many of you took action, joining the 17 million people demanding action by heads of state on a climate deal. We didn’t get that deal last year and to be honest, we do not expect that deal will be completed this year either.  So you ask, what can we expect from the summit this year? I’m not a climate expert but I know some, here is what I’ve gathered so far.

Don’t expect to see Barry in Cancun

This year will not see almost every head of state clearing their schedule to fly into Cancun to feign efforts for a climate deal, like last year. Mexico has made a concerted effort to reach out to all leaders and their governments to make this process as inclusive and attended as possible. We are expecting quite a few heads of state although not the same kind of wide spread attendance we saw last year. But, don’t let that fool you, that doesn’t mean they can’t make serious progress at this meeting. Delegations also have the power to get on with placing the building blocks we need for a global deal here. At the end of this meeting we might not have a photo of all of the leaders of the developed world hand shaking on stage, but we could still have what we need to move on to a global deal that will combat climate change and pave the way for an energy revolution.

No bow on the climate deal by the holidays

It’s clear that the fair, ambitious and legally binding deal that we need won’t be completely wrapped up by the end of this meeting. Last year, 17 million of us demanded that the deal promised in 2007 in Bali be delivered at its promised date in Copenhagen. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. We do not expect that they will deliver that deal in its entirety this year either. Hopefully what they will do is nail down the properly constructed building blocks to make sure that deal happens and happens the right way.

This meeting is about choice

Right now, a clean energy future is a choice that is still within reach. An international climate change agreement could catalyse and help pay for a world with clean, secure and independent means of energy guaranteed for generations to come. It could keep natural and ancient forests standing and forest peoples thriving, as well as protecting many forest species and helping to stop catastrophic climate change.

Governments have to fess up and acknowledge the emission cuts they have promised so far are not enough, make the right decisions on the structure of an agreement and decide how they provide new money for developing country action and adaptation.  They have to agree how start to loosen the ties on money to stop deforestation in developing countries and close the loopholes around rules for forests and land use that could increase emissions from industrialized countries.

In order to make this happen, governments must agree to a number of building blocks as I mentioned earlier. Here is what we need countries to do in Cancun:

  • reiterate their goal to keep global temperature rise well below 2°C, and review this number in light of the fact that a 1.5° rise will have dangerous impacts;
  • acknowledge that the current emission reduction commitments will not allow us to avoid dangerous climate change - and agree on a process to increase those commitments;
  • set up a Climate Fund; agree a work plan to decide on innovative sources for long-term climate finance;
  • establish a mechanism to tackle emissions from deforestation and ensure this mechanism protects both biodiversity and indigenous peoples' rights.

I’ll be here in Cancun for the next 2 weeks, reporting on how the negotiations are progressing and telling you what Greenpeace is doing to bring your voices to the summit. Keep up to date with the Climate Rescue blog.

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