Cancum summit has been hailed as a success

Whilst no legally binding agreement was produced, all 194 counties participating, with the exception of Bolivia, signed up to the following:

  • Objectives that emissions should peak as soon as possible with a long-term emission reduction of 50% by 2050 and that the temperature rise be limited to 2 deg C with 1.5 deg considered in the near term.
  • On emissions, details of what both the developed and developing counties are doing to tackle climate change (as pledged in Copenhagen) to be brought into the UN system for assessment. A review of the gap between the pledges and the levels the science requires to be instigated.
  • Monitoring, reporting & verification (MRV) system to be set up to ensure countries live up to their promises on emisssions.
  • Green Climate Fund to be set up to help developing countries go ‘low carbon’ and adapt to climate impacts.
  • Agreement to slow, halt and reverse the desruction of trees and to rules for delivering as well as monitoring progress.
  • Mechanisms to help developing counties access low carbon technology and adapt to climate change to be set up (at least $100b a year by 2020).

Summary by one delegate: “Cuncun may have saved the process but it did not yet save the climate”. There was a real danger that the UN process would completely collapse so saving the process was vitally important. It means there is now a basis for building on and hopes that a binding agreement can be reached in Durban next year are rising.

For a more downbeat (and perhaps more realistic) assessment, see the World Development Movement comment.