UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said, "Cancún has done its job. The beacon of hope has been reignited and faith in the multilateral climate change process to deliver results has been restored. Nations have shown they can work together under a common roof, to reach consensus on a common cause. They have shown that consensus in a transparent and inclusive process can create opportunity for all."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying, "Over the last year, the United States has worked with our international partners to build on the progress achieved at the climate change conference in Copenhagen. We have pressed for substantive steps that would advance the vision of the Copenhagen Accord. This month we joined the nations of the world in Cancun for a new round of talks aimed at mobilizing common action to meet the shared global challenge of climate change. Today, I am pleased to announce that we secured the Cancun Agreements, a set of balanced international decisions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which represent meaningful progress in our global response to climate change.
UNFCCC indicated that governments have given a clear signal that they are headed towards a low-emissions future together, they have agreed to be accountable to each other for the actions they take to get there, and they have set it out in a way which encourages countries to be more ambitious over time. Figueres said, "Nations launched a set of initiatives and institutions to protect the poor and the vulnerable from climate change and to deploy the money and technology that developing countries need to plan and build their own sustainable futures. And they agreed to launch concrete action to preserve forests in developing nations, which will increase going forward. They also agreed that countries need to work to stay below a two degree temperature rise and they set a clear timetable for review, to ensure that global action is adequate to meet the emerging reality of climate change. This is not the end, but it is a new beginning. It is not what is ultimately required but it is the essential foundation on which to build greater, collective ambition."
According to a UNFCCC summary the key elements of the Cancún Agreements include:
Industrialized country targets are officially recognized under the multilateral process and these countries are to develop low-carbon development plans and strategies and assess how best to meet them, including through market mechanisms, and to report their inventories annually. Developing country actions to reduce emissions are officially recognized under the multilateral process. A registry is to be set up to record and match developing country mitigation actions to finance and technology support from by industrialized countries. Developing countries are to publish progress reports every two years. Parties meeting under the Kyoto Protocol agree to continue negotiations with the aim of completing their work and ensuring there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods of the treaty. The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanisms has been strengthened to drive more major investments and technology into environmentally sound and sustainable emission reduction projects in the developing world. Parties launched a set of initiatives and institutions to protect the vulnerable from climate change and to deploy the money and technology that developing countries need to plan and build their own sustainable futures. A total of $30 billion in "fast start" finance from industrialized countries to support climate action in the developing world up to 2012 and the intention to raise $100 billion in long-term funds by 2020 is included in the decisions. In the field of climate finance, a process to design a Green Climate Fund under the Conference of the Parties, with a board with equal representation from developed and developing countries, is established. A new "Cancún Adaptation Framework" is established to allow better planning and implementation of adaptation projects in developing countries through increased financial and technical support, including a clear process for continuing work on loss and damage. Governments agree to boost action to curb emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries with technological and financial support. Parties have established a technology mechanism with a Technology Executive Committee and Climate Technology Centre and Network to increase technology cooperation to support action on adaptation and mitigation.
According to the analysis, "Current emission reduction pledges, after the close of the Cancun climate conference, fall short of what is needed to get the world on track for limiting global warming to 2 and 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Both of these warming limits are mentioned in the agreement. To keep warming limited to these targets, global total emissions need to drop below 44 billion tonnes CO2eq per year by 2020. After adding up reduction proposals of individual countries and taking into account accounting provisions, expected global emissions leave a gap of 12 billion tonnes CO2eq/yr by 2020. In Cancun, countries discussed a wide range of options that influence the size of the gap. If countries would implement the most stringent reductions they have proposed with most stringent accounting, the remaining 'reduction gap' would shrink to 8 billion tonnes CO2eq/yr."