With the COP16 talks due to start next month (November 29 to December 10) the Tianjin climate gathering was the last realistic hope to define the nature of the talks.

Speaking on the final day of the Tianjin UN Climate Change Conference (October 9), UNFCCC executive secretary, Christiana Figueres, said governments ‘had made progress ‘in China in the run up to COP16.

“This week has got us closer to a structured set of decisions that can be agreed in Cancún. Governments addressed what is doable in Cancún, and what may have to be left to later”, she said.

Ms Figueres said governments had discussed each element of a package of decisions, including a long-term shared vision, adapting to the inevitable effects of climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, key operational elements of climate finance and capacity building, along with the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

The UN’s top climate change official pointed out that action on climate change that could be agreed in Cancún and beyond was about turning small climate keys to unlock very big doors into a new level of climate action among rich and poor, business and consumers, governments and citizens.

If climate financing and technology transfer make it possible to give thousands of villages efficient solar cookers and lights, not only do a nation’s entire carbon emissions drop, but children grow healthier, women work easier and families can talk, read and write into the evening, she said.

In the end, this is about real people being given the opportunity to take control of their future stability, security and sustainability, she added.

Luke Walsh

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