Keys to the 2nd KP Commitment Period

It shouldn’t be too hard for Annex I countries to show needed leadership by actually agreeing emission reduction commitments in line with the top end of the IPCC 25-40% range.  After all, many reputable studies show how to reach that achievable goal.  But on the evidence thus far, those countries aren’t ready to embrace ambition yet.
Nevertheless, Annex I Parties can and should reach agreement in Cancun on a number of technical issues that lead toward commitments in 2011 to achieve the needed scale of emissions reductions, along with a shared understanding of the underlying rules and modalities that will influence the fair sharing out of their targets in 2013-2017.
This week’s launch of the UNEP Emissions Gap Report clearly demonstrates the massive and growing gap between the pledges now tabled and even a 2 oC pathway, much less one limiting global temperature rise to less than 1.5 oC. It is imperative to rapidly close the Gigatonne Gap and produce real emissions reductions, not fake accounting.
For these reasons, ECO reiterates the following points that need to be agreed here in Cancun:
* At least a 40% aggregate target for 2020 for developed countries from 1990 levels.
* LULUCF accounting that accurately tracks what the atmosphere sees rather than letting as much as 450 million tonnes of emissions vanish from the books.
* Address AAU banking (hot air) in a way that preserves environmental integrity. The UNEP report says that dealing with carry-
overs from the first commitment period as well as new surpluses created in the second could reduce the gap by up to 2.3 Gt..
* Continuation of the 1990 base year will facilitate comparability of targets across the commitment periods. Other reference years are being advocated simply to hide the lack of effort by some Parties.
* A 5-year commitment period to synchronize science reviews with the IPCC reports,  help align with political cycles in many countries, and to avoid complacency. (Take note, EU!)
* Strong domestic action to facilitate the transition to a zero carbon economy for developed countries by 2050. Strategic planning is required, not excessive offsetting.
* Fewer new dubious sources of credits (the never-ending cries for CCS and nuclear in the CDM), and more demand for projects that deliver sustainable development benefits.
* Use the most recent available science: that means IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report for global warming potential on the 100 year time horizon, not a political fudge. Is there a particular reason why Brazil does not support using the most recent science?
* Urge IMO and ICAO to take swift action to achieve a global approach, fully embracing the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which means, for instance, that there is no net incidence on developing countries.
The KP modalities have the potential to lead to real emission reductions – or they can be a pretense that emissions are falling because of accounting tricks and self-serving rules to hide inaction.  The clock is running down and the choice is clear.  
And delegates, as always in a party-driven process, the choice is yours.

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