As Ministers began arriving in Cancun, negotiations started to pick up steam. On Monday evening efforts continued to reach agreement on aspects of the long-term vision that would shape any new agreement. As the second week begins, everyone is aware that there is very little time left to reach an agreement that will lay the groundwork for a binding treaty in Durban, South Africa, next year.
It feels like we’ve been here before. Three years ago in Bali, a disaster was pulled out of the fire and became the Bali Action Plan – a road map to the a binding agreement that was supposed to be struck in Copenhagen last year. We all know what happened there. But as a delegate from Belgium said this morning, one still has to hope.
To help fuel this report, Eco, the daily bulletin published by the environmental NGOs at the COP, laid out what needs to be done to get an agreement that will lead to a binding agreement next year:
1. First, it is crucial that parties act together in a transparent process that will rebuild the trust lost in Copenhagen;
2. A second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol needs to be “finalized and agreed in Durban” and there needs to be a legally binding outcome from the “LCA track” which is working towards a new treaty that recognizes the urgency for action that underlines the latest science;
3. That science has moved on and the target range for reductions of 25-40% by 2020 for developed countries won’t be achieved based on pledges made under the Copenhagen Accord. It also says that anything over a global mean average temperature increase of 1.5C is “will result in substantial environmental and socioeconomic consequences”;
4. Cancun needs to “acknowledge the gap of 5 to 9 gigatonnes that UNEP has spotlighted”; and
Other steps include agreement on adaptation, technology, capacity building, forestry and other areas.
On the surface, Eco says, the negotiations in Cancun are between nations. “But the real negotiation is between human society on the one hand and physics and chemistry on the other.”