Major Element of Cancun Agreement
All parties agreed on a set of decisions, know as the ’Cancun Agreement’, for further discussion, on the two tracks of the negotiation, namely the long-term cooperative action (LCA) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto protocol (KP). The broad highlights of the agreed texts are as follows:-
1. Shared Vision for Long-term Cooperative Action-. A goal of restricting temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, was agreed upon with a provision for review at a subsequent date. Significantly, the agreed final text makes no mention of either quantitative targets for emission reduction by 2050 or global peaking year, thus protecting the interests of developing countries. Largely due to India’s efforts, references to "equity" and "equitable access to sustainable development" were included in this section as the basis of working towards this goal.
2. Adaptation- A Cancun Adaptation framework was agreed upon. It exhorts developing countries to prepare and implement national adaptation plans and at the same time, calls upon developed countries to provide finance, technology and capacity building support for the same. It also decides to establish an Adaptation committee to promote the implementation of adaptation actions.
3. Mitigation Commitments of Developed Countries- Under the Cancun agreements, developed countries including those that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol or otherwise, will list their economy wide emissions reduction targets for the period from 2013 onwards, in a UNFCCC document and implement the targets according to the agreed rules. Developed countries have also agreed to increase the ambition of their targets, and enhance reporting of their mitigation targets, including their commitments relating to provision of financing technology and capacity building support to developing countries. For the first time, and on India’s insistence, the agreed text calls for an "international assessment and review" of developed country emission reduction targets, which means that there will be mandatory in-depth review of implementation of the commitments by developed countries including assessments by experts and consultations with developing countries.
4. Kyoto Protocol- At the same time, the parties to the Kyoto Protocol have agreed to continue to work towards finalizing their targets for the second commitment period (post 2012 period) with the aim to ensure that there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods of the protocol.
5. Mitigation Actions by Developing Countries- Under the agreements, the developing countries will also list their nationally appropriate mitigation actions (not mitigation commitments or targets) in a document under the Convention, and implement them with the financial, technological and capacity building support provided by developed countries for such actions. The text also calls for "International consultation and analysis" of developing countries actions in a manner which is non-intrusive, non-punitive, facilitative and respectful of national sovereignty.
This will apply to nationally determined actions, implemented on a voluntary basis in pursuance of the domestic mitigation goal, and reported through the official national communication of the country concerned. This was a key area where India played a crucial role in mediating an agreement that was acceptable to both developed and developing countries.
6. Forestry- The agreement encourages developing countries to undertake actions on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of forest stocks, and sustainable management of forests (the latter being most relevant to India, where we are actually increasing our forest stock through sustainable forestry). It calls upon developing countries to prepare national strategies/plans for the same. The agreement also asks for full and effective participation of indigenous people and local communities in developing and implementing these strategies. An assessment of financial options to support these actions is also to be worked out.
7. Response measures and trade- This urges developed countries that their climate actions avoid negative consequences on developing countries. On unilateral trade measures, it notes that measures taken to combat climate change, including unilateral ones, should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade. Although the language is not quite perfect from our perspective, this seeks to address an important concern of India and other developing countries that climate change should not be used as an excuse to impose unilateral trade measures on developing countries.
8. Finance- It calls upon developed countries to provide ’fast start finance’ of USD 30 Billion in 2010-12 to developing countries and submit transparent information regarding the provision of these resources. The agreements also recognizes the need of providing long term finance by the developed countries and inscribe their commitment of raising USD 100 billion per year by 2020 for supporting adaptation and mitigation actions in developing countries. Most importantly the parties have decided on the establishment of a Green Climate Fund as the operating entity of the financial mechanism.
This was a long pending demand of developing countries and represents one of the most notable achievements, following persistent and protracted negotiations on the issue. The fund is to be governed by a board of 24 members, equally represented from developed and developing countries. The World Bank will be the trustee of the fund for the initial 3 years when the fund is setup and operationalised.
9. Technology Development and Transfer- The agreement decides to establish a technology mechanism for supporting research, development, demonstration, deployment, diffusion and transfer of technology in the area of mitigation and adaptation. The mechanism will be governed by a Technology Executive Committee with 20 members, 9 from developed countries and 11 from developing countries, and its functions will be implemented by a Climate Technology Centre and Network. India was the key player in drafting the text on the Technology mechanism.
Note: Development of the Jatropha cultivation and biodiesel production: case study of Karnataka State, India (part XVI) will be continued in next issue.