Getting Shared Vision Out of Deadlock

As delegates flock into Panama’s final meeting on Shared Vision, ECO has few hopes that the world will be much closer by the end of this week to agreeing on a peak year and a long term reduction goal for global emissions. But delegates need to remember that their heads of state have already laid out a common vision: keeping global temperature below 2°C! The science is clear – meeting this goal requires dramatically scaling up the current collective level of ambition.  The best lawyers in the world can’t negotiate with the atmosphere!

In addition, ECO agrees with many Parties that focusing on the numbers without any notion of equity in achieving them will fail to deliver emission pathways that will allow the world to stay below 2°C, let alone, 1.5°C.

ECO proposes the following step-wise approach to achieving a shared vision in Durban:

 Step 1:  Parties agree to collectively aim for an emissions pathway that not only keeps us below 2°C, but also keeps the possibility of limiting warming to 1.5°C within reach. Parties agree to peak global emissions by 2015 and cut them by 80% by 2050.

 Step 2: Parties commit to launch a process to look at countries’ “fair shares” to get the world onto the desired emissions pathway, based on the following principles of the UNFCCC: historical responsibility for past and present emissions, capability for reducing such emissions, and the right to sustainable development.

Step 3:Parties agree to inject the outputs of this exercise into the negotiations over a comprehensive legally binding long-term climate regime (see Monday’s ECO for more on the mandate for these negotiations).

While much work will be required after Durban to turn this vision into reality, setting the goal is the first step on the road to collective survival.  Make it so!