The Cancun Agreement A Preliminary Assessment Policy Brief

Dec 14, 2010 - 11:00am

The Cancun Agreement has restored momentum to the UN climate talks. While much more needs to be done, particularly at national levels, some key barriers have been addressed. Three important areas of achievement should be noted:

  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.

While Cancun marks important progress, a number of issues need attention, including:

  • Greater pollution reduction effort
  • Sources of Financing
  • Common accounting rules, including for land sector
  • Legal form of final framework

The Cancun Agreement reinforces the need for the Australian Parliament to pass a flexible pollution reduction package with not only a pollution price but limits and policies that can enable ambitious pollution reduction.

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