Opening of the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16)
Cancún, 29 November 2010
Address by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary
I also would like to extend my sincere thanks to those countries which have made a generous contribution to enable the participation of two delegates from all developing countries and 2 +1 delegates from the least developed countries and small island developing States. Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to COP16, welcome to CMP6! Welcome to the land of the ancient Mayan goddess Ixchel!
Next to being the goddess of the moon, Ixchel was also the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. May she inspire you – because today, you are gathered in Cancún to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, using both reason and creativity as your tools. Weaving this tapestry is urgent.
• It is urgent because according to the World Meteorological Organization, concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have today reached their highest level since pre-industrial times;
• It is urgent because the poorest and most vulnerable need predictable and sufficient assistance to face a serious problem that they did not cause;
• And it is urgent because the multilateral climate change process needs to remain the trusted channel for rising to the challenge;
The task is not easy, but it is achievable. I know that, because in the past, you have woven tapestries that have turned into significant achievements in the context of the already existing implementation agenda of both the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.
I urge you to further advance those issues here in Cancún and to continue weaving them into ever more effective achievements. But evidently, in order to achieve the full and effective implementation of the Convention, a richer tapestry of efforts is needed. During 2010, you have taken important steps.
• You revealed a commitment to live up to the fast start finance pledged in Copenhagen. Developed countries have announced pledges totaling USD 28 billion dollars and many of them are now making information available on the disbursement of these funds. This is encouraging and I urge developed countries to complete the work on this pledge in a transparent and timely manner;
• You also revealed a growing convergence that a balanced set of decisions under both the COP and the CMP could be an achievable outcome here in Cancun;
• You revealed a willingness to capture progress and advance work with a text under the Kyoto Protocol;
• And you revealed that you may be able to agree on a decision to start operationalizing the Bali Action Plan.
However, before those issues can move forward there are a number of politically charged issues that have not yet benefited from equal willingness to compromise, both under the Kyoto Protocol track and the LCA track. With respect to the Kyoto Protocol, these politically charged issues include:
• The need to avoid a gap after the first commitment period and the importance of having clarity on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol;
• How the mitigation proposals put forward by industrialized countries in 2010 could help achieve clarity on this;
• And how to send a signal from Cancun that governments wish to continue engaging the private sector through the Kyoto Protocol’s market mechanisms beyond 2012.
Under the LCA, the unresolved issues include:
• The formalization of mitigation proposals put forward by Parties in 2010 and the accompanying accountability for their implementation;
• The mobilization of long-term finance, the creation of a new fund and the accompanying accountability of its delivery;
• Response measures;
• And the understanding of fairness that will guide long-term mitigation efforts.
I urge you to resolve these issues with priority so that a balanced outcome in Cancun can be achieved. A tapestry with holes will not work and the holes can only be filled in through compromise. Excellencies, when the stakes are high and the issues are challenging, compromise is an act of wisdom that can unite different positions in creative ways.
Looking at what you have achieved over the past months, I am convinced that you can compromise to find your way to a concrete outcome in Cancun. That outcome needs to be both firm and dependable and have a dedicated follow-on process for future work.
Excellencies, the goddess Ixchel would probably tell you that a tapestry is the result of the skilful interlacing of many threads. I am convinced that 20 years from now we will admire the policy tapestry that you have woven together and think back fondly to Cancun and the inspiration of the goddess Ixchel.
UPDATE: The StataSphere server can’t handle the load of interest, I’ve take the images offline from this article, and disabled the link to it. Once he gets the server up and running again I’ll put them back – Anthony
Readers may recall this quote from Dr. Phil Jones of CRU, by the BBC:
Q: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming
A: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.
A.J. Strata has done some significance tests:
CRU Raw Temp Data Shows No Significant Warming Over Most Of The World
Published by AJStrata at StrataSphere
Bottom Line – Using two back-of-the-envelope tests for significance against the CRU global temperature data I have discovered:
- 75% of the globe has not seen significant peak warming or cooling changes between the period prior to 1960 and the 2000′s which rise above a 0.5°C threshold, which is well within the CRU’s own stated measurement uncertainties o +/- 1°C or worse.
- Assuming a peak to peak change (pre 1960 vs 2000′s) should represent a change greater than 20% of the measured temperature range (i.e., if the measured temp range is 10° then a peak-to-peak change of greater than 2° would be considered ‘significant’) 87% the Earth has not experienced significant temperature changes between pre 1960 period and the 2000′s.
Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions.
Telegraph – By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
…As the world meets in Cancun, Mexico for the latest round of United Nations talks on climate change, the influential academics called for much tougher measures to cut carbon emissions.
In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.
This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less ‘carbon intensive’ goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars.
Prof Anderson admitted it “would not be easy” to persuade people to reduce their consumption of goods
He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s.
This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models. Food that has travelled from abroad may be limited and goods that require a lot of energy to manufacture.
“The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face,” he said…
The Convention and the Protocol
Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty — the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. More recently, a number of nations approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol, which has more powerful (and legally binding) measures. The UNFCCC secretariat supports all institutions involved in the climate change process, particularly the COP, the subsidiary bodies and their Bureau.
This section contains numerous resources — for beginners or experts — such as introductory and in-depth publications, the official UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol texts and a search engine to the UNFCCC library.
Kyoto Protocol — What it means
The Kyoto Protocol, an international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, entered into force on 16 February 2005.
- Learn about Kyoto
- Text of the Kyoto Protocol
- Status of ratification
- Kyoto mechanisms
- Registered Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects
- Issues arising from Kyoto’s entry into force
- Kyoto Protocol reports and due dates (467 kB)
- Speeches & Statements 2010
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