As we get closer to COP17 the issues of climate change, emissions, targets, the Cancun Agreement, equity, technology transfer, climate finance and what is expected from COP17 are on everyone’s mind. I these issues aren’t on your mind they should be because climate change will impact your life in one way or another….. if it hasn’t already. So I thought a bit of information on COP16 and its outcomes as well as what is expected from COP 17 would help contextualize the issues and hopefully get more of us thinking about the key issues around climate change and COP17.
The key outcome of COP 16 is the Cancun Agreement. The Cancun Agreement is not regarded as the “ideal or required” fair, binding and ambitious agreement that is needed to resolve the climate change problem. A key criticism of the Cancun agreement is the fact that the agreement focused primarily on the alleviation of climate change symptoms without effectively addressing the causes of climate change. Of particular importance is the fact that the agreement did not include a binding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target or strategy or resolve the issue of the financing of the Green Climate Fund and REDD+.
The Agreement included and recognised the following:
- That reductions in global GHG emissions are required, in order to reduce GHG emissions
- A Shared Vision that Parties need to take urgent action to meet this long-term goal of keeping temperature rise below 2º.
- A paradigm shift towards building a low-carbon society is required.
- The importance of Climate Change Adaptation.
- REDD+:agreement on reducing emissions from deforestation was reached despite the issue of financing not being resolved.
- Technology Transfer
- The establishment of a Green Climate Fund to mobilize long-term finance for climate change in developing countries. The financing of the fund was not detailed or specified and this was seen as a significant gap in the agreement.
- The inclusion of gender considerations and the recognition that climate change impacts women and men differently.
Issues that were left to be resolved at COP 17, in Durban, South Africa are;
- A decision on the second phase for the Kyoto Protocol.
- Agreeing which countries are most vulnerable
- The arrangements to compensate countries for permanent loss and damage due to climate change.
Some interesting COP17 articles: