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Cancun Conference on Climate Change (COP 16) Underway

Written By Gopal Krishna on Saturday, December 04, 2010 | 9:16 PM

UN's aim to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system remains illusive

Focus is on 37 industrialised nations and 42 developing countries

United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico commenced on 29th November with a call for commitment and compromise. The two-week meeting is the sixteenth Conference of the 194 Parties to the United  Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the sixth meeting of the 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The conference will conclude on 10th December, 2010. 

Christiana Figueres , UNFCCC Executive Secretary said in her opening address that  governments had revealed a growing convergence that a balanced set of decisions under both  the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol could be an achievable outcome in Cancun as to how to take mitigation actions forward. In the course of 2010, all 37 industrialised nations and 42 developing countries, including the largest emerging economies, submitted targets and voluntary actions to reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions. These mitigation promises need to be formalised as a matter of urgency. 

The 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, along with the continuation of engaging the private sector through the Kyoto Protocol's market mechanisms beyond 2012.  

Under the Convention, the unresolved issues include the accountability for implementation  of mitigation targets and actions; the mobilization of long-term finance, the creation of a new fund for this and the accompanying accountability of its delivery, along with the understanding of fairness that will guide long-term mitigation efforts.  

Following up from the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark Ms. Figueres said that developed countries had in the course of 2010 revealed a commitment to live up to the fast start finance pledged in 2009. Developed countries have announced pledges totaling USD 28 billion and many of them are now making information available on the disbursement of these funds.  

With 194 Parties, UNFCCC has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. 

The meeting (COP16/CMP6) is underway at the Moon Palace Hotel and the Cancunmesse, a new international conference and exhibition center. Both locations around Cancun, on the Cancun-Chetumal road approximately 7 km apart.
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