The annual meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) is now under way in Cancún from 29 November to 10 December.
When we last looked at Cancún alexinbologna explained that in 2007 in Bali countries agreed to two paths, firstly, negotiating a further commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and secondly, to negotiate ‘longterm cooperative action’ (LCA). The chances of the first of these getting up in Cancún approach zero. The best that could be achieved is to position talks to achieve an agreement in Durban at the next COP in December 2011.
Since Copenhagen some 140 countries have associated themselves with the Copenhagen Accord and 85 of these have made commitments to reduce or limit the growth of their emissions up to 2020. There may be a tendency to regard this as replacing a binding commitment, but we should remember that the Copenhagen Accord was only formally noted by the meeting in Copenhagen not agreed to. Some countries, for example the ALBA group and AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), will see this as the developed countries avoiding their responsibilities. Rather than allowing developed countries to do whatever suits them these countries want legally binding progress towards deep cuts.
LCA covers a multitude of issues. There will be a tendency to concentrate on those issues where there is a prospect of agreement. Nick Robins in an article Cancun: Cancan or Cancan’t? identifies some:
We believe that interim decisions could be reached on:
– Establishing an Adaptation Framework for developing countries.
– Introducing a Technology Mechanism involving a network of innovation centres to promote clean technology deployment.
– Agreeing overarching policies for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initially through public financing for national plans in tropical nations
– Launching a new Climate Fund – initially named the ‘Copenhagen Green Climate Fund’ in the Accord.
The rest of Robins article is worth reading and constitutes perhaps the best single introduction to the talks. He says the “Cancun is being positioned as a procedural stepping stone to the next set of negotiations in Durban”, but suggests that conditions for getting a deal could then be actually worse.
The piece by Greg Picker & Fergus Green Cancun: Same game, new rules, also in the Climate Spectator is well worth a look.
The UN will try to emphasise the gravity and urgency of climate change. The UNEP, according to Reuters finds that the Copenhagen Accord commitments will leave at least a 5gt emissions gap.
A new report gives the metrics.
Business as usual will see CO2e emissions of 56gt by 2020.
If the 85 countries commiting under the Accord fully honour their commitments at the highest level of ambition and with strict accountability, emissions will be 49gt.
In order to give a “likely chance” of remaining within the 2C guard rail, emissions need to be 44gt and reduce steeply each year from there.
The report website is here.
Some of the developing countries will seek to negotiate 2C down to 1.5C. I wish them luck.
Just in: David Cameron refuses to attend despite a direct appeal by the Mexican chair of the conference. Some 20 leaders are expected to show, mainly from Latin America, but also including the small island states subject to inundation with sea level rise.