Climate change officials are expressing confidence that the a comprehensive international climate change deal would be reached at UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

by Tracey de Morsella, Green Economy Post

The UN’s top climate change official expressed confidence that the meeting would deliver a comprehensive, ambitious and effective international climate change deal, yesterday at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

“Within two weeks, governments must give their adequate response to the urgent challenge of climate change,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer. “Negotiators now have the clearest signal ever from world leaders to craft solid proposals to implement rapid action,” he added.

Referring to numerous emission reduction pledges that developing and developed countries have made in the run-up to COP 15, the UN’s top climate change official said there was unprecedented political momentum to clinch an ambitious deal in Copenhagen.

“Never in 17 years of climate negotiations have so many different nations made so many firm pledges together,” he said. “So whilst there will be more steps on the road to a safe climate future, Copenhagen is already a turning point in the international response to climate change.”

Yvo de Boer spoke of three layers of action that governments must agree to in the course of the coming two weeks: fast and effective implementation of immediate action on climate change; ambitious commitments to cut and limit emissions, including start-up funding and a long-term funding commitment; and a long-term shared vision on a low-emissions future for all.

As of 2010, immediate action will need to begin on reducing emissions, adapting to the inevitable effects of climate change, delivering adequate finance, technology, reducing emission from deforestation in developing countries and capacity-building.

de Boer says that developed countries will need to provide fast-track funding on the order of at least 10 billion USD a year through 2012 to enable developing countries to immediately plan and launch low emission growth and adaptation strategies and to build internal capacity. At the same time, developed countries will need to indicate how they intend to raise predictable and sustainable long-term financing and what their longer-term commitments will be.

Stressing the issue of immediate action, Michael Zammit Cutajar, Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention said: “Copenhagen must be a success that delivers the promise of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, that will change the way we act and cooperate in addressing climate change.”

The urgency to act has been underscored by Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who told the conference that global emissions would need to peak by 2015 for the world to stay below a two degrees Celsius temperature rise. “The costs of responding to climate change will become progressively higher as time goes on, therefore we must take action now,” he said.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an aggregate emission reduction by industrialized countries of between minus 25% and 40% over 1990 levels would be required by 2020 in order to stave off the worst effects of climate change, with global emissions falling by at least 50% by 2050. Even under this scenario, there would be an only a 50% chance of avoiding the most catastrophic consequences.

John Ashe, Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I (industrialized) Parties under the Kyoto Protocol spoke both of the need raise the level of ambition of developed countries with regard to individual targets and the need to make rapid
progress on the tools and rules that developed countries can use to reach their targets, such as carbon market mechanisms, land use and land use change and new gases. “A strong, clear agreement that incorporates all the outstanding issues under the Kyoto Protocol will have to be part of a successful Copenhagen agreement,” he said.

According de Boer, negotiators must focus on solid and practical proposals that will unleash prompt action on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries and capacity-building. He spoke of three layers of action that governments must agree to by the end of the conference: fast and effective implementation of immediate action on climate change; ambitious commitments to cut and limit emissions, including start-up funding and a long-term funding commitment; and a long-term shared vision on a low-emissions future for all.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an aggregate emission reduction by industrialized countries of between minus 25% and 40% over 1990 levels would be  required by 2020 in order to stave off the worst effects of climate change, with global emissions falling by at least 50% by 2050. Even under this scenario, there would be an only a 50% chance of avoiding the most catastrophic consequences.

“Industrialized countries meeting under the Kyoto Protocol need to raise the level of ambition of developed countries with regard to individual targets and the need to make rapid progress on the tools and rules that developed countries can use to reach their targets, such as carbon market mechanisms, land use and land use change and new gases,” said Yvo de Boer.

Starting today,the UNFCCC working groups will have six days to conclude negotiations before the Ministerial High Level Segment starts 16 December. Ministers will then in turn have two days to take any unresolved issues forward before the more than 100 world leaders arrive the evening of 17 December. This means a total of eight negotiating days to prepare a workable package that consists of both immediate and long-term components which leaders can endorse on 18 December.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced that 110 heads of state and government will attend the conference at its conclusion. The Prime Minister pointed to the fact that climate change knows no borders. It does not discriminate, it affects us all,” he said. “And we are here today because we are all committed to take action. That is our common point of departure the magnitude of the challenge before us is to translate this political will into a strong political approach,” he added.

More than 15,000 participants, including delegates from 192 countries, are taking part in the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.