Cancun Agreement reinforces need for flexible pollution policy Media Release

Dec 14, 2010 - 11:30am

The Cancun Agreement has reinforced the need for the Australian Parliament to negotiate in 2011 a flexible package with not only a pollution price, but also limits and other policies that can enable ambitious pollution reduction, The Climate Institute said today as it released its preliminary analysis of the UN decisions reached in Cancun.

“The Cancun Agreement has restored the UN’s mojo in guiding global action on pollution and climate change with countries ‘anchoring’ their pollution control commitments and knocking down some key roadblocks,” said John Connor, The Climate Institute CEO.

“The Cancun Agreement has also crystalised the need for Australia to legislate flexible pollution prices, limits and policies in 2011 in order to meet its current commitments and remain competitive as global ambition increases.

“In 2011, the ‘year of action’ on pollution and climate change, the Australian Parliament will only be successful if it establishes a pollution reduction framework flexible enough to reach at least our full range of bipartisan backed international commitments of 5 to 25 per cent reductions on 2000 levels by 2020.”

In its preliminary assessment of the Cancun Agreement released today, The Climate Institute highlights three key achievements:

  1. Anchoring of national mitigation commitments: formal recognition and ‘anchoring’ of existing pollution targets and commitments from all major polluting countries, covering around 80 per cent of global emissions. This is the first time pollution commitments from US, China and all other major economies (both developed and developing) have been captured in a formal UN agreement.
  2. New ‘Green Climate Fund’: agreement to establish a new fund to help mobilise US$100 billion a year by 2020 to support low pollution economic development; protecting tropical forests and helping the world’s most vulnerable people build resilience to change impacts. However, there was no decision on how to raise the public and private money for this fund.
  3. Improved transparency: measures to improve transparency and verification of domestic efforts to reduce pollution, including a process for international review of countries’ actions by technical experts.

The Climate Institute said areas where more work was need included securing long-term sources of financing for poor countries; agreeing common accounting rules, including for the land sector, and; the ultimate legal form to back UN agreements.

“Flexibility will be the key to success in 2011’s ‘year of action’ on pollution and climate change, this will mean pollution pricing as well as limits and policies to ensure ambitious pollution reduction targets can be achieved,” he said.

“The Cancun Agreement reinforces the need for a flexible pollution reduction package that ensures we do our fair share in helping avoid dangerous climate change and also ensure we don’t get left behind the emerging global low pollution economy,” concluded Mr Connor.

For further information: 
John Connor (in Sydney) | CEO, The Climate Institute |  0413 968 475

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