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The Cancun Agreement December 22, 2010

Posted by agastyamuthanna in Climate Change.
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My final blog post is going to a quick take on the outcome of the negotiations. On balance I think the negotiations were a success. However this is a very relative measure that is more a result of the abysmal failure of the Copenhagen round of negotiations and the feeling I had during the initial week of the conference that the entire process was on the edge of collapse.
Not taking away form the conference’s agreement I shall quickly go over what it included.
The central part of the agreement included points in the Copenhagen accord (that was never an official UNFCCC output as it was not accepted by “consensus” of all countries). One of these key carry-overs was the pledge of 100 billion US$ per year from developed to developing countries by 2020. This part of the text gives both sides something to hold onto. Developing countries like the entire money (The idea of money flowing into their coffers is always a good thing). The deal mentions that the money will be “mobilized” which hints at the us eof private setor capital as well (which developed countries like). The agreement mentions the creation of a fund through which some of the money will flow, this fund however will be independent at some level form the COP. This is a situation which gives something to all the stakeholders.
Another key part of the deal was an agreement on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). This includes extensive safeguards to make sure that indigenous forest dwellers are treated fairly. This was one of the major requests of the non-governmental stakeholders at of the process.
The final two parts of the agreement deal with technology transfer (which is extremely important for all developing countries especially India) and a new framework to deal with adaptation (another point that is very beneficial for Developing countries who are in many cases already facing the consequences of climate change). All these paper promises need to be implemented in the real world. Which is another astronomical difficulty – there is going to be a lot of load shifting between developed countries.
The Cancún agreement missed out some important topics. Moves towards a deal on shipping and aircraft fuels, unpopular with oil producers, fell out of the text. They took with them—quite unfairly—worthy proposals in nearby paragraphs for new work on agriculture, a greenhouse-gas emitter on a par with deforestation.
The big countries got the specific things that they were after. China wanted not to be blamed for a failure, as it was after Copenhagen. America wanted pledges made in that summit’s accord to be recognised, plus progress on verification.
So that is my analysis of what happened, and while this deal is alright from an environmental perspective the key is it si Amazing form a UNFCCC perspective. The agreement has kept the UNFCCC process alive and kicking, while walking on an extremely narrow tight-line between developed and developing countries. It is a massive achievement in raw diplomacy.

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