June vital month for progress to low-carbon future | WWF South Africa

June vital month for progress to low-carbon future

Posted on 31 May 2010
Approaching storm
© Carsten Peter / WWF

UN climate talks in Bonn starting today and the G8 and G20 summits later this month can create huge momentum towards a number of breakthroughs needed for a global climate agreement that would speed up the race to the low-carbon future.

“June is a turning point for climate politics after a period of confusion and soul-searching since Copenhagen,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Head of Climate Policy, WWF Global Climate Initiative.

“Copenhagen didn’t deliver the full treaty the world needs, but it brought us very close to agreement on a few crucial elements of the package, so Bonn is about picking things up where Copenhagen left them, for breakthroughs on these elements in Mexico later this year.”

In WWF’s view, negotiators in Bonn can push some important debates close to conclusion, e.g. on forest protection driven by carbon finance – the so called REDD+ agenda – and on creative financing for low-carbon action and climate resilience in developing countries.

“We are at the verge of agreeing to stop deforestation and to gear up for dealing with a changing climate through adaptation”, says Gutmann.

“Securing breakthroughs in these areas at the talks in Mexico this December would put the world in a good position to wrap such key elements into a global agreement at the next summit in South Africa in 2011, marking an important deadline as the Kyoto Protocol needs a new lease on life by 2012.”

WWF advocates a similar step by step approach to closing the gigatonne gap, a massive mismatch of emission reduction levels pledged by countries in the Copenhagen Accord and the levels that are actually needed to secure a climate resilient future.

“Countries will win the gigatonne challenge if they speed up the low-carbon transformation of their economies, close the loopholes that undermine their national action plans, and work together to extend their transformative efforts to new sources of pollution that haven’t been regulated so far”, says Gutmann.

A fiesta in Mexico to blow away the post-Copenhagen blues will also depend on climate finance, putting the upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Canada into the spotlight.

Heads of States there are scheduled to identify new sources of finance like taxes on financial transactions or levies on emissions from unregulated sectors like shipping and aviation, and to discuss the switching of subsidies from polluting fossil fuels to innovative energy technologies – in order to marry their economic and environmental agendas and add momentum to the race towards the low-carbon future.

“Using G8 and G20 to mobilize funds for clean development and the Bonn talks to sort out building blocks for a climate agreement will give the international community the important atmosphere of trust that got lost during the Danish disaster last December”, says Gutmann.

“When the need for South Africa to move to a low carbon economy was stated directly by President Zuma, at the Green Economy Summit two weeks ago, our commitment to driving negotiations to finalise a fair and effective before 2012 was also reaffirmed,” notes Climate Change Programme Manager of WWF South Africa, Richard Worthington.

“The President emphasised that advancing national and regional interests at the international level must be supported by actions at home.” said Worthington.

“South Africa’s potential for establishing competitive advantage in low-carbon development was affirmed by a range of Ministers, so our climate change lead agent and national delegation have a very strong mandate.”

Approaching storm
© Carsten Peter / WWF Enlarge