Cancun achieves greater cooperation; domestic action needed to drive ambition Media Release

Dec 12, 2010 - 1:30pm


The UN climate talks which have wrapped up in Cancun set the stage for Australia’s 2011 year of action, as countries responsible for around 80 percent of global pollution formally committed to limit their emissions, The Climate Institute said today.

“Last year in Copenhagen countries effectively signed an MOU for high level commitments. This year in Cancun countries went a step further by signing a more detailed contract to deliver effective international cooperation to limit the impacts of pollution and accelerating climate change,” said Erwin Jackson, Climate Institute Deputy CEO.

“While some aspects are disappointing, the Cancun Summit delivered important progress in several key areas. Most significantly, the Cancun talks produced a formal UN decision anchoring pollution limitation and reduction targets covering over 80 percent of global emissions.

“This is the first time we’ve seen the US together with China and all other major emitters anchoring their national pollution targets in a formal UN agreement - the significance of this should not be underestimated.

“Without a domestic pollution limit and price Australia can’t cooperate fully internationally as it cannot meet the commitments made in Cancun.

“Without a domestic pollution price we will continue to be left behind by countries dominating the emerging low pollution economy and the agreements at Cancun leave no excuse for inaction in 2011.

“A limit and price on pollution remains central to our economic prosperity and without domestic action in 2011 Australia risks being left behind the emerging low pollution economy which has received a boost from the Cancun outcome.”

“Including national targets in formal UN decisions will build trust between countries and provide a basis for talks to increase ambition to limit pollution and drive clean energy investments.

“The Cancun Climate Summit also made real progress on setting out the rules and processes to reduce emissions from the destruction of tropical forests, drive technology cooperation and unlock billions of dollars in financing to low pollution economic development. It is however disappointing that governments could not agree a 2050 pollution reduction target.

There is clear evidence that global momentum will continue to be built through actions at the national and sub-national level. An important new initiative announced in Cancun included Norway and Indonesia’s US$1 billion deal to protect tropical forests, beginning with a two year ban on new permits to clear forests. South Africa also demonstrated progress at the national level with draft policy to introduce a national carbon tax to complement their existing tax on pollution from vehicles.

“Regardless of progress in Cancun, in the short-term, governments’ competitive instincts will continue to drive multibillion-dollar investments in clean energy and low pollution technologies as they jostle for poll position in the global clean-energy race.”

For more information:
Erwin Jackson | Deputy CEO, The Climate Institute | +61 411 358 939 OR ejackson@climateinstitute.org.au (In Cancun)
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute |  +61 413 968 475 OR jconnor@climateinstitute.org.au

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