Cancun builds momentum; much more work to be done to save the climate – Greenpeace

Press release - 11 December, 2010
Governments 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.

“Cancun may have saved the process but it did not yet save the climate,” said Greenpeace International Climate Policy Director Wendel Trio. “Some called the process dead but governments have shown that they can cooperate and can move forward to achieve a global deal.”

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.
“Cancun has delivered the momentum – but we haven’t arrived there yet. In Durban we need a global deal that helps countries build a green economy and that holds polluters accountable.”
  • 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 (1) agreement sidesteps some critical parts that must be defined and strengthened over the coming months.
More would have been accomplished in Cancun if not for the negative influence of the United States, Russia and Japan. The latter two were unhelpful by their statements against the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. The US came to Mexico with feeble commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, despite being the world’s highest historical emitter, watered down several important areas of agreement and put a successful outcome in doubt.
“All Governments now have a lot of work to do – to keep in line with what they just agreed, they need to double their efforts to cut emissions.  The work starts here. Civil society in every corner of the world must now pressure their leaders to redouble their efforts to drive change at home and come to Durban ready to strike a deal.”
(1)  Reducing Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation
Greenpeace International Communications Cindy Baxter +52 1 998 216 1099
Wendel Trio +52 1 998 204 9770
Greenpeace International Press Desk +31 20 718 2470