The following is a synopsis of the subjects for a debate on climate change and the proposals made at the Cancun summit last December.
LONG-TERM ACTION ON EMISSIONS
The accord “recognizes that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required according to science … with a view to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial levels.”
Many scientists say 2 degrees Celsius is a threshold for more heat waves, floods and rising sea levels. The agreement also recognizes a need to review a tougher ceiling of 1.5 C (2.7 F).
The accord calls on developed nations take the lead in curbing greenhouse gases since historically they have emitted most. Developing countries will take “nationally appropriate actions” (NAMAs) to curb their emissions by 2020.
The agreement will set up a Green Climate Fund to help channel aid. It says a first meeting to design the fund would be held in March — it has been postponed to late April.
The accord takes note of a promise by developed nations for $30 billion in “fast start” aid for 2010-2012. Developed countries commit to a goal of providing $100 billion a year in aid from 2020, agreed at the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit.
Environment ministers meeting at climate talks in Durban, South Africa, in late 2011 will consider “one or more market-based mechanisms” to help cut emissions. The accord also undertakes to maintain and build on existing market mechanisms.
The accord says governments should “collectively aim to slow, halt and reverse forest cover and carbon loss, according to national circumstances” to help avoid climate change.
It encourages all to find ways to reduce the human pressure on forests and encourages developing countries to reduce emissions and conserve forests.
HELPING DEVELOPING NATIONS ADAPT
The accord sets up the Cancun Adaptation Framework to help developing nations adapt to climate change such as droughts, floods and rising sea levels. Such measures would include better planning, weather forecasting and risk management, and perhaps a climate insurance risk facility.
MEASUREMENT, REPORTING, VERIFICATION
Greenhouse gas emissions curbs by developing countries will be subject to domestic and international measurement, reporting and verification when backed by foreign aid. When funded domestically, actions will be checked locally, in line with guidelines to be developed by the United Nations.
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER
A Technology Mechanism will help share new ways of curbing greenhouse gases, including a Technology Executive Committee and Climate Technology Centre and Network.
EXTENSION OF WORK
A group looking at long-term cooperative action will present results at the end of 2011. It does not set a deadline for coming up with a legally binding treaty.
The agreement sidesteps a dispute about an extension of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which binds almost 40 industrialized nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels during the five-year period 2008-2012.
Japan, Canada and Russia have said they will not sign up for a new commitment period under Kyoto beyond 2012, saying a new deal has to list curbs by all major emitters. Developing nations say rich Kyoto nations have to act first and extend the pact.
For Reuters latest environment blogs, click on: http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/
(Compiled by Alister Doyle and Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Fogarty)
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.