The forthcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen provides the world's leaders with the opportunity to reach an agreement that is truly a show of leadership.

The forthcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen provides the world's leaders with the opportunity to reach an agreement that is truly a show of leadership.

The world’s scientists have warned that on current emission pathways we are headed for catastrophe. A Copenhagen agreement enshrining swift action to reduce emissions could avert this catastrophe and instead ensure that the people of the world, our planet and our children have a future.

Negotiators have not made the technical progress they should have within the UNFCCC negotiating sessions since Bali in 2007. Nevertheless, sufficient progress has been made to ensure that the Copenhagen COP successfully agrees upon the essential elements of a climate deal. A successful outcome at Copenhagen is there for the taking – what it requires is for key politicians, such as yourself, to inject the much needed political will.

The world’s public will judge failure harshly – and yet the rewards of success and high levels of ambition are many and include new green industries and green jobs. Failure at Copenhagen is not an option if we are to secure a viable future for all countries, and above all, for the vulnerable small island developing states, the least developed countries and for African nations.

Climate Action Network International, a network of roughly 500 non-governmental organisations from around the world, including Seas At risk, has established a checklist for how the negotiations will be judged (see the Climate Action Network’s Fair, Ambitious & Binding: Essentials for a Successful Climate Deal below). While CAN members have a variety of specific proposals, this, in our collective view, is the benchmark upon which the Copenhagen climate negotiations should be judged.

The essential elements of a Copenhagen deal include:

• Deep, legally binding emission reductions by developed nations of at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 in aggregate, most of which should be met through domestic emissions reductions;
• Adequate and predictable funding from developed countries to enable developing countries to follow a low-carbon growth path and cope with the impacts of climate change. The 2009 UN World Economic and Social Survey estimates $500bn per year is needed, at least $195 billion of that must be public finance, provided through mechanisms which guarantee its delivery, such as the auctioning of international emission allowances;
• A comprehensive system of technology cooperation which delivers sustainable development, enables poverty reduction and ensures access to sustainable energy services for all; and
• A global Adaptation Action Framework which massively increases support to developing countries so they can adapt to climate change, reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience against, and manage loss and damage from, now unavoidable impacts of climate change.

These are the basic elements of a deal at Copenhagen that will be judged a success by this, and future, generations.

Share This

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required