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Brokenhagen last year – Is it Can’tcun this year?

Written By : MAKERETA KOMAI PACNEWS Editor. BrokenHagen and Can’tcun were coined by climate blogger, Sonia Yeow to express her “disappointment, anger and despair” at the outcome of the failed
27 Nov 2010 12:00

image Written By : MAKERETA KOMAI PACNEWS Editor. BrokenHagen and Can’tcun were coined by climate blogger, Sonia Yeow to express her “disappointment, anger and despair” at the outcome of the failed climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December last year.
Whether that despair will again reflect the outcome of the Cancun negotiations, which begins next week, remains to be seen.
Already, thousands of climate change negotiators, scientists, donors, lobbyists and activists are already arriving into the beautiful city of Cancun, in the easternmost state of Quintana Roo for two weeks of intense negotiations, with the hope of achieving what Copenhagen couldn’t do – a global agreement on climate change that is legally binding.
It’s generally agreed the Copenhagen talks or the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) in 2009 was a failure. Two weeks of frantic negotiations ended with the announcement of Copenhagen Accord, a non-legally binding political agreement authored by more than 20 influential world leaders, including President Barack Obama of the United States.
“It was really disappointing because this was a non-transparent negotiation which was not supposed to happen as it contradicted the principles of the United Nations. World leaders failed to deliver what they promised at COP15. That was how “Hopenhagen” turned “Brokenhagen” at Copenhagen, wrote Yeow in her blog.
Yeow’s blog is one of the many thousands in cyberspace created by people to express their anger, fears, aspirations and hope for the future of planet earth!

Cancun hope
If the beautiful surroundings of the Moon Palace, the venue of the global climate change talks is to have any bearing on the outcome, there is hope that a positive outcome can be revived.
That hope, how small it may be – is something that the new UN climate change chief, Christiana Figueres is holding on to until 11 December, the closing day of the climate change negotiations.
“Cancun will be a success, if Parties compromise. They have to balance their expectations so that everyone can carry home a positive achievement.
“At this point, everything I see tells me that there is a deal to be done,” Figueres told journalists in the lead up to COP16 in Cancun.
She is confident that Cancun will reach a deal to launch action on adaptation, technology transfer, forests and possibly a new fund to house long term financing.
Figueres acknowledges that “political gaps” need to be bridged earlier in the negotiations.
“These centre on how to move forward with emission reductions, deciding what to do about the Kyoto Protocol and how to anchor the many national targets and actions governments have put forward, in particular the targets of industrialised countries.
While expectations for agreements on how best to tackle climate change at the conference are realistic, Figueres noted, “There’s still a lot at stake if the world is going to stay below a two degree temperature rise.”

Reality
A recent United Nations report reveals that emissions cuts pledged by countries in a nonbinding climate accord last year fall short of what’s needed to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, the UN’s environment agency said today.
The sobering report by the UN Environmental Programme comes as climate negotiators prepare for another round of talks next week in Cancun, Mexico.
Even if the voluntary pledges made last year in the so-called Copenhagen Accord are fully met, that will only achieve 60 per cent of the emissions cuts required to keep temperatures from rising less than 2 degrees C (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels and head off the worst effects of global warming, the UNEP said.
However, UNEP executive director Achim Steiner called those pledges “a good first step,” and that the gap can be reduced further with steeper emissions cuts.
“There is a gap between the science and current ambition levels,” Steiner said in a statement.

Ambo Declaration
As the world waits in anticipation at what Cancun will produce, the small and vulnerable nations, who’ve grouped themselves as the Alliance of Small Island Nations (AOSIS), are crying out for desperate help.
In the Pacific, this cry for help came in the form of the Ambo Declaration, adopted at the Tarawa Climate Change conference on 9-10 November.
The declaration calls for immediate action to address the causes and adverse impacts of climate change.
“What is particularly encouraging is it includes not only the small islands and states, the vulnerable countries, but also the developed countries in the region, including Australia and New Zealand. I’m also very happy to say that China is also part of the declaration, and this is particularly welcome given the fact that the position of China has been one that is very difficult to pin down in terms of the wider negotiations, said Kiribati President Anote Tong told PACNEWS in Tarawa.
Small vulnerable nations like Kiribati, whose citizens are likely to be the world’s first climate refugees want Cancun to endorse action plans to protect its people who will be displaced within or across borders, as a result of climate change extreme events.
In addition, they are appealing for an ‘urgent package’ to assist frontline states deal with challenges posed by the climate change crisis.
The new fund should cater for the unique circumstances of the most vulnerable States on the frontline, said the Ambo Declaration.
“We don’t just talk about it, we must do it,” said President Tong, who is expected in Cancun on the second week of the negotiations along with other world leaders.
Apart from established Adaptation Fund, set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – the only other funding opportunity is in the form of the Copenhagen Accord, which promises US$30 billion in pledges to help vulnerable countries threatened by the ravage of climate change in 2010-2012. In addition, developed nations will raise US$100 billion annually by 2020 from a variety of sources to assist developing countries carbon emissions.

Lip service
International climate negotiations have made slow progress partly because developing nations are suspicious that the rich countries are using the issue as “an excuse” to keep them poor and maintain the global status quo, according to the former UN climate chief.
Yvo de Boer said the suspicion among poorer nations was an important roadblock to a deal at COP16.
“Many countries were not deeply committed to a green growth economic model that climate change demanded.
“Although many nations play lip service to this model, most of them, deep in their hearts, are unsure. In fact, many developing nations fear that the intent of the west is to use climate as an excuse to keep [them] poor and maintain the current status quo,” he said.
De Boer also warned politicians heading to the next round of international climate talks not to be too ambitious. “The lesson for Cancún is keep it simple, keep it practical, and don’t overreach,” he said.
He admitted this approach would be “selling the climate short”, but urged realism over idealism.
“My approach would not be enough to limit temperatures to a maximum 2C rise,” he said. “[But] a modest start can be an effective way to get the ball going. We need to work with what we have in the same way that President Nasheed of the Maldives accepted the Copenhagen Accord at last year’s Copenhagen summit – not because he liked it, but because he realised it was the best he could get,” he said.

Countdown
This year, over 7300 events were held in 188 countries on 10th October to work on the climate crisis. One of these activities was the Global Visual Petition Project for Climate Justice to give young people a voice at COP16 in Cancun.
Yeow, is part of this global youth project that hopes to take more aggressive actions to ensure their voices are heard.
“Hopefully this would give the world leaders a little more pressure and push them towards committing themselves to implementing successful and sustainable solutions that contribute to addressing climate change issues, Yeow said.
According to the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, the Copenhagen Accord will be made into a legally binding treaty at COP16 this year.
In spite of this, there is only a low expectation that COP16 will reach a consensus on a legally binding deal this year.
“Is COP16 destined to be another failure? No one knows. The outcome of COP16 is hardly predictable. Let’s hope that COP16 will be a success. I would not want to see Cancun turn “Can’tcun,” expressed Yeow in her blog, a reflection shared by millions of people on the planet.



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