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Scientists have said any climate change agreement must limit temperature rises to less than two degrees

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Cancun climate summit fails to agree successor to Kyoto Protocol

Tom Levitt

12th December, 2010

Major industrialised powers claim progress has been made towards a legally-binding agreement but campaigners warn new deal will be 'weak' and 'wholly inadaquate' in preventing climate change

A legally-binding commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions has still not been reached following the latest international climate change summit in Cancun, Mexico.

The Summit was taking place to agree a successor to The Kyoto Protocol, the only global agreement on climate change so far, which comes to an end next year. It set industrialised countries like the UK targets to reduce their emissions to an average of 5 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008-2012.

Speaking after the conference ended campaigners said they feared major polluters were trying to 'usher it [Kyoto] quietly out the back door'.

After two weeks of negotiations, governments agreed to a new draft document that pledged to keep temperature rises to two degrees, outlined how reductions could be scrutinised and, reported and plans for paying less industrialised countries to protect their forests.

It also set out plans to establish a Green Climate Fund to help less industrialised countries adapt to climate change. However, the source of the $100 billion annual fund has still not been confirmed and there many countries still object to the World Bank taking responsibility for distributing any funds. Of the $30 billion pledged since last year's Copenhagen Summit, only $7.9 billion has actually been committed to international climate change programmes.

Bolivia was among a number of countries that objected to the new draft document and called it a 'hollow and false victory' with the richest nations having offered nothing new in terms of emission reductions or financing.

'There is only one way to measure the success of a climate agreement, and that is based on whether or not it will effectively reduce emissions to prevent runaway climate change,' read a statement.

Friends of the Earth International said the Cancun agreement was 'wholly inadaquate' and could lead to catastrophic climate change.

'This agreement provides a platform for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol, replacing it with a weak pledge and review system, which would lead to a devastating five degree Celsius warming.'

They also worried that the draft agreement on reducing deforestation did not safeguard the rights of Indigenous Peoples or the protection of natural forests.

WWF remained optimistic that despite the failure to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol this year, progress had been made and a deal may be able to be reached at next year's summit in South Africa.

Useful links

Full agreement from UNFCCC website


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