Sunday, December 20, 2009

The first step: the Copenhagen Accord

After two weeks of talks and hours of wrangling, world leaders delivered in the early morning of Saturday (19th December) the “Copenhagen Accord”.
Even failing to bring a binding agreement on tackling climate change, the Accord recognizes the scientific view that an increase in global temperature below 2 degrees is required to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

The collective commitment by developed countries in the Accord is to provide actions on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries.

The accord calls to boost actions in the area by mobilizing financial resources from developed countries through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund:

- to support immediate action on climate change the collective commitment towards the fund over the next three years (2010-2012) will approach 30 billion US dollars in order to help poor nations tackle global warming, reducing their emissions and embarking on a low-carbon path of development. The short-term financing will also be used to prevent deforestation.

- for long-term finance, developed countries agreed to support a goal of jointly mobilizing 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.
Money will be channeled to support different initiatives for adaptation, emissions reductions and technology development. A mechanism will also be established to intensify technology transfer.

Deforestation. A point on which all countries agreed, it was the crucial role of stopping deforestation. They agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus.

Adaptation. Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa.

Next steps

- The Accord sets an end-January 2010 deadline for all nations to submit plans for curbs on emissions to the United Nations.

- Annex I Parties will commit to implement, individually or jointly, quantified economy-wide emissions targets from 2020, to be listed in the accord before 31 January 2010.

- Non-Annex I Parties will implement mitigation actions by 31 January 2010. Their actions will be subject to their domestic measurement, reporting and verification while those actions seeking international financial support will be monitored by international verification.

- Least developed countries and small island developing states may undertake actions voluntarily and on the basis of support.

- A review. The Accord can be reviewed by 2015, on scientific basis, to find if the pledges listed by developed and developing countries are sufficient to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees or less. This would also take into account the long-term goal of limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

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