What happened last week in Copenhagen?
The leader of WWF's global climate team, Kim Carstensen, says it all comes down to two simple things: "It is the job of the ministers now arriving to fill in the numbers against both the cuts in emissions and the money to make the deal possible. Putting in the numbers is where we can bridge the divide between the ambitions governments have shown so far and what we really need to do to stay out of the climate catastrophe zone.”
There are three major proposals on the table about how to fill in those details. At the risk of over-simplifying, there is one from the wealthy industrialized nations, one from the large developing nations (China, India, Brazil and South Africa), and one led by tiny Tuvalu on behalf or the poorer nations and small island states who will be hit hardest by the droughts, storms, floods, heat waves and rising sea levels that will come with a warming climate. Not surprisingly, it is the latter proposal that is most in line with actually solving the problem.
WWF's team on-the-ground is still optimistic we can pull this off. We are confident that if we can bridge the divide between what the developed nations are prepared to do and what the emerging and developing world want to see happen, we will have a Copenhagen climate deal.
For the wealthy world, the science and the equity arguments all point to increased cuts in emissions and more money on the table for those who have contributed little to the problem of climate change but will suffer the most of the consequences. This is where Canada has been dragging its feet for the last decade, and we need our government to step up and make Canadians proud.
WWF welcomes the significant new commitments made in the last month by China, India, Brazil and South Africa, but we still need the large emerging economies' efforts to be included in and measured as part of the global effort.
We also need to close the remaining loopholes that would undermine implementation of the accord, and make it truly binding so that no one can cheat and prevent the world from getting to the clean energy economy that people and the planet need.
All of this, however, can be done. And must be.
Keith Stewart, Ph.D.
Director, Climate Change