Saturday, January 02, 2010

Copenhage Accord, two weeks on

It is nearly two weeks since the Copenhagen Accord was struck, and the best I can say about my comment now is better late than never, and maybe it is better late, rather than in a rushed comment as soon as it comes out. I am of the glass half-full persuasion, and take Cop15 as a beginning to build on. These are key excerpts from the document .

1 We underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, we shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change.

OK. It's a start.

4. Annex I Parties to the Convention commit to reducing their emissions individually or jointly by at least 80 per cent by 2050.

Annex I are rich industrialised nations. 80% is not sufficient, it needs to be 90%, but again, it's a start.

5. Non-Annex I Parties to the Convention will implement mitigation actions, including those listed in appendix II, consistent with Article 4.1 and Article 4.7 and in the context of sustainable development. Mitigation actions subsequently taken and envisaged by Non Annex I Parties shall be communicated through national communications consistent with Article 12.1(b) every two years on the basis of guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties.

Weak. Reporting only, no targets, but assistance from rich nations, for example with installing solar technologies will be monitored; which is sensible.

6. We recognize the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forests and agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus, to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries.

This is fiercely, and in my view, irrationally opposed, by many environmental groups. The challenge to them is to provide their alternative mechanism to protect the forests. I believe the key point we should aim for is to grant indigenous forest dwellers protective sovereignty over their territory.

7. We decide to pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions. Developing countries, especially those with low emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low emission pathway. 8. Scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, to enable and support enhanced action on mitigation, including substantial finance to prevent deforestation (REDD-plus), adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, for enhanced implementation of the Convention. The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources amounting to 30 billion dollars for the period 2010 - 2012 as listed in appendix III with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation, including forestry. Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing states and countries in Africa affected by drought, desertification and floods. In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries support a goal of mobilizing jointly 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.

No detail. the £100 billion is about half of what the UN estimates as necessary. In comparison with the amounts shovelled into the banks last year, it is modest, and the disparity shows the cognitive dissonance on the part of leaders between the real world and the fantasy world of finance.

12. We call for a review of this Accord and its implementation to be completed by 2016, including in light of the Convention's ultimate objective. This review would include consideration of strengthening the long-term goal to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees.

This represents a failure of the hope that the Convention would be made legally binding within 6 months. 2016 is just ridiculous.

So. It's a start, and it gives us an opportunity to lobby our Governments for tighter action.
But first we need to set our own house in order, with regard to protecting the forests.

Also, we should be lobbying the Government to start taking some real action, instead of just talking. A serious building insulation programme should be in the next budget, and also a plan to make public transport cheaper and more user-friendly.

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