Friday, February 12, 2010

UN Head Launches Advisory Group On Climate Change Financing

Feb 12: The leaders of the United Kingdom and Ethiopia will head up a new high-level group launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that is intended to mobilize financing swiftly to help developing countries combat climate change. The Copenhagen Accord reached at December's United Nations conference in the Danish capital called for jump-starting immediate action on climate change and guiding negotiations on long-term action, with pledges to raise $100 billion annually by 2020. It also includes an agreement to working towards curbing global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and efforts to reduce or limit emissions.

    At a press conference In New York, Ban announced the new Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, to be chaired by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown saying, "There will be an even balance between developing and developed countries." According to a release, the body's other members, who will be appointed for 10 months and whose names will be announced soon, include heads of State and Government, senior ministers and officials from central banks and experts on finance and development. The Advisory Group will be charged with creating practical proposals to boost both short- and long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation strategies in developing countries. The Group is expected to produce a final report containing recommendations before the next Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Mexico this December.

    UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a statement saying, "I very much look forward to working with Prime Minister Meles and the members of the advisory group in the task that believe is one of the most important we face - combating climate change by ensuring that the poorest countries have the finance that is necessary to do so. If we can resolve this problem, then I believe many of the other challenges of climate change can be resolved. So the task before us, while daunting, is a very important one to the future of the environment of the world."

    Last week, the UNFCCC announced that by the January 31 deadline specified in the Copenhagen Accord, some of the world's biggest emitters of carbon dioxide -- including the United States and China -- have formally submitted their national targets to cut and limit greenhouse gases by 2020. It said that it had received specific pledges from 55 countries that together account for 78 per cent of global emissions from energy use. The pledges to the Accord are purely voluntary and there are no enforcement provisions for the signing countries. Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC issued a statement saying, "This represents an important invigoration of the UN climate change talks [however,] Greater ambition is required to meet the scale of the challenge. But I see these pledges as clear signals of willingness to move negotiations towards a successful conclusion."

    On February 2, the World Resources Institute (WRI) issued a working paper entitled, "Comparability of Annex I Emission Reduction Pledges." [See WIMS 2/3/10]. As negotiated in the Copenhagen Accord provides a mandate for Annex I Parties that choose to associate themselves with the Accord to register their emission reduction pledges by January 31, 2010 [See WIMS 2/1/10]. The WRI analysis indicated that emission reduction pledges "will not be enough to meet even the lower range of emission reductions required for stabilizing concentrations of CO2e at 450 ppm and certainly fall very short of goals to reduce concentrations below that level." WRI has developed an Interactive Chart: Analyzing Comparability of Annex I Emission Reduction Pledges.

    Access a release from the UN (click here). Access a statement released by the UN on the Advisory Group (click here). Access a release from the UK Prime Minister (click here). Access the WRI Interactive Chart (click here).