Early Saturday morning, as many delegates and observers were on their way home without knowing what the outcome of the conference would be, those remaining adopted a series of decisions that have received a generally positive reception – resulting in the Cancun conference being seen as something of a success!
In what should be a positive outcome, after 10 years of debate, delegates agreed to include carbon capture and storage within the Clean Development Mechanism. There is still a significant programme of work to be conducted throughout 2011 to develop the framework within which CCS will operate in the CDM, and there will be challenges ahead, but it is a significant step that agreement has finally been reached on this issue, something for which WCA has been campaigning for a long time.
The package that was agreed, which will be known as the Cancun Agreements, does leave many major questions unanswered and these will need to be resolved at COP17 in Durban next year. But the fact that agreements could be reached on a number of key issues does seem to have salvaged the UNFCCC process for now at least.
The agreement on long-term cooperative action has, importantly, established the Green Climate Fund along with measures in which developing nations can be compensated for keeping forests intact (known as REDD). It also establishes a process by which clean energy technology can be transferred from developed to developing countries. Unanswered questions, however, include the future of the Kyoto Protocol after the first commitment period ends in 2012 and how the task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be shared between industrialised and major emerging economies over the coming years.
Clearly there will be a significant amount of work that needs to happen through 2011 to ensure that the positive outcome from Cancun can be repeated in Durban this time next year and it will be interesting to see how that progresses.
A full review of the Cancun conference and the Cancun Agreements will be in the next edition of WCA’s Ecoal newsletter, which will be out later this month. For now, however, the daily blogging ends and I hope you have found it interesting and useful.