Cancun ends in agreement … sort of

International pressure on delegates at COP16 resulted in a very basic deal on bringing down emissions and cash for a green climate change fund.

However, the meeting held in the Mexican resort of Cancun, has in reality established little more than was agreed at the conclusion of COP15 in Denmark.

Early on Saturday (December 12) the United Nation’s climate talks finished with ‘a consensus without Bolivia’, after the country refused to back the agreement claiming it was too westernised and relied too much on offsetting.

The Cancun talks have created a new Green Fund, although where all its funding comes from is unclear.

The fund will be worth $100 billion, but two thirds of the money could be raised through carbon markets and private sector finance, which angered the Bolivian delegates.

Observers of the talks also criticised the decision to make the World Bank the trustee of the fund as ‘highly inappropriate’ given its track-record of investing in high carbon projects.

World Development Movement head of policy, Dr Julian Oram, said: “In terms of making serious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the foot-dragging by developed countries has resulted in a text with little difference from the Copenhagen Accord.

“A year later, and 300,000 more people have died from climate change related impacts, and still no more binding commitments have been forthcoming.

“The best that can be said is that it keeps the Kyoto process limping along until next year’s meetings in South Africa.”

Friends of the Earth International chairman, Nnnimmo Bassey, said: “The
agreement reached here is wholly inadequate and could lead to catastrophic climate change.

“The rich countries that are primarily responsible for climate change, lead by the US, with Russia and Japan, are to blame for the lack of desperately needed greater ambition.

This is a slap in the face of those who already suffer from climate change. But in the end all of us will be affected by the lack of ambition and political will of a small group of countries.”

Wales’ environment minister, Jane Davidson, was more positive about the deal, she said: “I whole-heartedly welcome the deal that has been reached.

“The negotiations were not without their dicey moments but Wales is particularly delighted our efforts to secure recognition for the role of subnational and local governments in the formal text going forward were successful and we can build on this recognition in the run up to South Africa next year.

“It has been wonderful to witness countries that were initially reluctant, being cheered when they made commitments which enabled this deal to be reached.”

Luke Walsh

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