Cancun meeting ends with mixed results

This weekend ended the 16th conference of parties (COP16) due to prepare the future of the Kyoto Protocol. Albeit it didn’t end as badly as the Copenhagen meeting did, we are still pretty far from solving the climate / energy equation.

In today’s post I propose you a selection of the most interesting articles related to this event that lasted no less than two weeks and brought forward some progress, notably on forests with REDD+. (cf. my previous post on the matter).

This was a critical success but the road to solving the coming triple crisis (peaking fossil fuel resources, massive unemployment and climate change) is still long.

People at Business Green are cautiously optimistic. As they noted :

The central Cancun Accord outlined plans to create a framework for the proposed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) menchanism that will see developed nations provide finance to help developing countries protect forests, but it made no explicit mention of how the scheme will be funded.

Of course, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is more optimistic :

The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, ended on Saturday with the adoption of a balanced package of decisions that set all governments more firmly on the path towards a low-emissions future and support enhanced action on climate change in the developing world.

The package, dubbed the ‘Cancun Agreements’ was welcomed to repeated loud and prolonged applause and acclaim by Parties in the final plenary.

“Cancun has done its job. The beacon of hope has been reignited and faith in the multilateral climate change process to deliver results has been restored,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.

“Nations have shown they can work together under a common roof, to reach consensus on a common cause. They have shown that consensus in a transparent and inclusive process can create opportunity for all,” she said.

But an article from TreeHugger points out to the fact that the official emission reduction calculations only give 50-50 chance of avoiding climate catastrophe. As they note :

With COP16 just ended and some hope of multilateral action on climate revived a new report from Friends of the Earth highlights an important point in all these discussions:

Current official calculations on emission reductions only give us a 50% chance of keeping temperature rise below 2°C. That’s not what nations have pledged to do mind you, which certainly won’t keep temperature rise below that critical threshold.

To give us a 70% of chance of avoiding climate catastrophe much deeper cuts are needed.

Here is a more balanced opinion from the Huffington Post :

Anticipation of a lackluster outcome from the climate summit gave way to near euphoria at the closing plenary here in Cancún in the small hours of Saturday morning. It marked a dramatic end to a grueling two weeks of touch talks.

(…) If the reaction from the green groups is anything to go by, then this key barometer of success appears to offer cautious approval. It was left to Bolivia, the only country that refused to support the 41-page agreement, to condemn it as acquiescence to “genocide and ecocide.”

Although not usually associated with conciliation, this turns out to be a rare occasion when environmental activists are publicly approving what amounts as a compromise.

(…) Fearing a terminal collapse in the 16-year process, the green movement frantically needed victory as well; which is why the likes of Greenpeace — who don’t normally do compromise — have been so quick to give the Cancún Agreement positive acclaim.

What do YOU think ? Can we succeed at stopping climate change before it is too late ? I look forward to reading your opinions !

2 thoughts on “Cancun meeting ends with mixed results”

  1. it is through flexible thinking that progress arises–no lasting results will pull the world out of two centuries of mindless growth, unless, reassessment of measures take place.
    small scale and local adaptation of energy production have been largely dismissed by the powerful industries–this calls for re-thinking the modus operandi of nations, especially developing ones.
    clean tehnologies need not be applied in massive projects, but rather as needed-where wanted.

    Greenpeace has (finally)demonstrated that the green movement must offer cooperative flow in order to progress and attract sensible innovation and funding toward sustainable living.

  2. Agreed ! (once again ^^)

    It is funny that you mention “small scale and local adaptation of energy production” as I am just reading a book on that very topic.

    The review will hopefully come this month, so stay tuned !

    (and as always : many thanks for your comment)

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