Statement by Achim Steiner to the Committee of African Heads of States on Climate Change
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, 29 June 2011 - Excellences,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Your meeting here today comes some six months before the UN climate convention meeting in Durban, South Africa.
And just under 12 months before Rio+20-20 years after the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 that established the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which in turn spawned in 1997 the Kyoto Protocol, the world's first greenhouse gas emission reduction treaty.
In terms of Durban, the political landscape is far more challenging than it was in the run up to the Copenhagen climate meeting of 2009.
Some of the euphoria and perhaps confidence has calmed.
In some parts of the world the science of climate change has in some political and media circles been put on the back foot sowing seeds of doubt in the mind of the public.
And while the UN climate convention meeting in Cancun at the end of 2010 did repair and restore the negotiating framework after Copenhagen-which was no mean feat-we are still far from the international agreements needed to decisively address climate change and keep a global temperature rise within the 2 degree C or even 1.5 degree C limit.
An estimate of that gap has been made by UNEP and climate collaborating centres world-wide.
It shows that with the highest ambitions of nations and supporting policies, emissions would be reduced to around 49Gt over the coming years. But that still leaves a gap of 5Gt that needs to urgently bridged.
5Gt is equivalent to the annual global emissions from all of the world's car, buses, and transport in 2005.
There is a sense that while recent discussions, most notably in Bonn, Germany only a few weeks ago did make progress, big gaps remain between the pace of political and practical progress and the pace of climate change.
There is uncertainty too over the Kyoto Protocol particularly if we take into account the declaration made by Russia, Japan and Canada at the recent G8 meeting.