The UN Climate Change talks in Cancun, Mexico, have produced a “modest deal” that commits all the major economies to reducing emissions, but does not go far enough to keep global warming below 2C according to critics. The agreement, which took four years of endless talk from a rolling circus of delegates from up to 193 countries to negotiate, should help to prevent deforestation, promote the transfer of low-carbon technologies to developing countries and establish a green fund, potentially worth $100bn (£63bn) a year, to shield the more vulnerable countries from climate change. The Guardian identifies the main points agreed as
■ All countries to cut emissions
■ Finance for countries who avoid emissions from deforestation
■ Finance to potentially provide up to $30bn for developing countries to adapt to climate change now, and a fund of up to $100bn later.
■ A new UN climate fund to be run largely by developing countries
■ Easier transfer of low carbon technology and expertise to poor countries
■ China, the US and all major emitters to have actions inspected
■ Scientific review of progress after five years
However, delegates failed to reach agreement on how far overall global emissions should be cut, and there seem to be a large number of loopholes for countries to avoid making the deep reductions that scientists say are needed – Japan has basically been allowed to avoid making binding pledges for example.
Chris Huhne, the UK’s Climate Secretary said “This is way better than what we were expecting only a few weeks ago. This is a significant turning point. It clearly says that there should be reductions from developing countries. It takes us forward to a legally binding overall outcome,” he said. He added that it would give industry more confidence to invest in low-carbon economies and would encourage Europe to commit to a 30% cut in emissions by 2020. Todd Stern, the US State Department Climate Change Envoy, said the deal at Cancún had given substance to the notion of an inspections regime, which were raised at Copenhagen. But by his own admission, and that of campaigners, Cancún represented only incremental progress and a number of countries, notably Bolivia, were resistant to the deal (although becausxe it didnt go far enough). Friends of the Earth called the agreement a “slap in the face” and warned that it could still lead to a temperature rise of 5C