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Governments Set to Seal Ambitious Climate Change Deal in Copenhagen
06/ 12/ 2009

Governments Set to Seal  Ambitious Climate Change Deal in CopenhagenCopenhagen, 6 December 2009 - One day ahead of the historic UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the UN's top climate change official expressed confidence that the meeting would deliver a comprehensive, ambitious and effective international climate change deal.

"Within two weeks from Monday, 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.

According to Yvo de Boer, developed countries will need to provide fast-track funding on the order of 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.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an aggregate emission reduction by industrialised 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.

According to an analysis launched today (6 December) in Copenhagen by Nicholas Stern and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), countries meeting at the United Nations climate change conference may be closer than some observers realize to agreeing the emissions cuts required to give the world a reasonable chance of avoiding global warming of more than 2˚C.

The analysis of national proposals for annual emissions reductions, published on the eve of the UN climate change conference, indicates that the gap between countries' strongest proposed cuts and what is needed may be only a few billion tonnes of greenhouse gases. The emissions reductions gap identified by the analysis, however, would require a number of key conditions, in particular that developed countries provide developing countries with the right level of financial and technical support for both emissions reductions and adaptation in the most vulnerable countries and communities in the developing world. It also requires that countries deliver on their commitments and intentions, and interpret the actions of others as sufficient to meet any conditions they may have set.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director said: "Having a reasonable chance of limiting a global temperature rise to no more than 2˚C can, with clearly designed policies applied consistently across countries and industries, be cost effectively met and can also set the stage for a low-carbon, resource-efficient 21st century Green Economy."

More than 15 thousand participants, including delegates from 192 countries, are expected to take part in the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (7 to 18 December).

Further Resources
UNEP: Climate Change
UNEP: Green Economy Initiative
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UN Campaign on Climate Change Seal the Deal!