Cancun CoP 16

Welcome to the section dedicated to the CoP 16 in Cancun, Mexico (Nov. 29 to Dec 10). Since I will be in Cancun from Dec 5th to 11th, this page is dedicated to everything I write about my trip and the conference of the UNFCCC.

The rhetoric before the Cancun conference has come to resemble that before Copenhagen last year in many ways. The EU is still pushing for an internationally binding agreement. The USA is still not ready to fully adopt such an agreement. China is not willing to commit to the process. Yet, such a shallow analysis is inadequate for the more practical side of the negotiations.

EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, expressed her expectations on what will transpire at the CoP 16 in the following way:

1. There will be no international binding agreement. It is not the EU which is standing in the way of this, but the lack of political will of other states to commit.
2. The parties have to continue what was agreed at Copenhagen. There will have to be no back-tracking on the Copenhagen Accord, which will have to be officially accepted by the parties.
3. Developed countries must deliver on their financial pledges. In connection to this, a enforcement framework for delivering these financial commitments has to be agreed upon.
4. A decision on forestry has to be taken. In essence, this will be an agreement between the parties on how to practically manage de-forestation. (The Commissioner was exceptionally optimistic that this will happen).
5. An adaptation framework for reducing CO2 emissions, together with a technological framework, will have to be designed. This issue constitutes one the most important issues, since it will outline how states will adapt to a low-carbon economy and what technological innovations will have to come about.
6. The development of a MRV (measuring-reporting-verification) mechanism. A crucial aspect of addressing climate change is a common standard and mechanism for measuring, reporting and verifying emissions.

In a sense, these are realistic goals. The EU has learned their lesson from the Copenhagen conference and are downplaying unrealistic expectations, such as those one year ago.

It remains to be seen whether reality will live up to expectations and I look forward to reporting live from Cancun!

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