10 Points to Remember for a Successful COP15 Agreement


photo: Aidan Jones via flickr.

With all the conflicting and changing national pledges on the table for COP15, it's very easy for someone not closely following this to lose sight of what really needs to happen. In case you one of those people that can't rattle off the components of a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty like you can the names of your brothers and sisters, WWF has a quick ten-point overview that's worthwhile checking out: 1. Legally Binding Framework
Everyone needs to agree to be legally bound to a global climate treaty with an amended Kyoto Protocol and a new Copenhagen Protocol which "secures the survival of countries, cultures and ecosystems" and helps pave the way for a future low-carbon economy.

2. Peak Carbon Emissions Before 2017

If we can do this we've got a better chance of keeping global average temperature rise below 2°C, and have a shot at reducing it further. The longer we dilly-dally and keep emissions rising, the chances of keeping temperature rise down get lower and lower.

3. Emissions 40% Below 1990 Levels by 2020 for Industrialized Nations
Though the vast majority of industrialized nations won't commit to anything nearly this much, this is what climate scientists say is required to peak carbon emissions before 2017, and keep temperature rise to a minimum.

4. Emissions 30% Below Business-as-Usual by 2020 for Developing Nations
Considering that included in that developing nation category are some high emitting nations like China (#1), Indonesia (#3, if you include emissions from deforestation), and India (#4), this is very much reasonable.

Though WWF doesn't say it, I'll add, these should probably be legally binding targets as well. We're all in this one together, even if our responsibilities are different...

5. Zero Net Emissions From Deforestation
Though recent research shows emission from deforestation are slightly lower than we had thought, they are still quite significant (nearly as much as from transportation). We need to stop this -- keeping in mind, and this is very important, preserving and expanding the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

6. Immediate Adaptation Action
Insurance, compensation for vulnerable countries and ecosystems... a framework to get this one going is the least we can do.

7. $160 Billion Annually For Developing Countries for Climate Mitigation
Developing nations bear little to no historic responsibility for climate change and deserve to be given assistance to adapt, as grants not loans, full stop.

Think of it this way: If you drive your car into your neighbors living room because you couldn't break in time, your neighbor deserves to be compensated, not loaned money to remove your car and fix the damage.

8. Strengthen & Facilitate Technology Transfer
Low-carbon and climate-adaptation/resilient technologies need to be spread around the world as quickly as possible. While concerns about patents and the like aren't insignificant, dissemination of technology as widely as possible is crucial.

9. Transparent Oversight of Compliance, Funding
If assistance disappears into a black hole that doesn't help anyone except the people's whose pockets are getting lined with public funds. We need a new UNFCCC oversight institution to manage this all in a transparent and accountable way.

10. Transparent & Comparable Standards For Carbon Markets, Etc.
Going along with that last one, is the need develop comparable ways of accounting for forest and land use emissions, mitigation efforts, carbon markets and all the other components of adaptation.

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OK, so that's perhaps not entirely as concise and wonk-free as you could make it -- and I did tweak this a bit from the WWF original -- but keep that one in your back pocket to track progress at COP15 and hold your local and national politicians accountable.

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Tags: Carbon Emissions | Developing Nations | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Solutions

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