Tag: COP 16 Cancun

Another Look at Closing the Gigatonne Gap


In narrowing the negotiating text here in Tianjin, delegates should focus on a shared vision of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5° C and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide of no more than 350 ppm. 

Anything above these levels would result in a host of severe impacts, including the inundation of low-lying island nations, the complete loss of coral reefs and summer Arctic sea ice, as well as the potential triggering of irreversible feedbacks adding massively to climate disruption. 

For this reason, more than 110 countries support reducing carbon dioxide to 350 ppm.  A shared vision that accomplishes anything less would surely consign future generations to ecological and economic

As indicated by several scientific assessments, emission reduction pledges made at Copenhagen fall far short of the action needed to limit temperature rise to 2° C, much less to 1.5° C/350 ppm.  Even viewed in the most optimistic light, the Copenhagen Accord would increase global temperatures by more than 3° C and push carbon dioxide levels past 650 ppm, a recipe for disaster. 

To provide a 50/50 chance of limiting warming to an average of 2º C above pre-industrial levels, emissions by 2020 should be no more than 44 gigatonnes (Gt) CO2e globally.  For the safer 1.5º C/350 ppm target, global emissions would need to be no greater than 40 Gt. 

The Copenhagen Accord pledges, on the other hand, would end up at 48 to 55 Gt in 2020, so there is your ‘gigatonne gap’.  And it’s not a pretty sight.  Parties must formally acknowledge this gap in Cancun and adopt a firm process to close it.  The laws of physics and chemistry will not bend to fit political convenience.

There are many potential measures to close the gigatonne gap, including increased emission reduction commitments by developed countries, dealing with excessive use of AAUs, capping emissions from bunkers, closing loopholes in greenhouse gas accounting, and additional financing to facilitate greater emissions reductions from
developing countries. 

Because there is a shrinking window of time to address the climate crisis, expressly acknowledging the need to close the gigatonne gap is critical, and bold action will be needed to meaningfully address the climate crisis. There is no more time to lose.

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CAN co-hosts preparatory meeting in Mexico for COP16 with Southern Partners

7 September 2010

Mexico CIty, Mexico -- The Climate Action Network - International is hosting a workshop in collaboration with Greenpeace, WWF - International and Presencia Ciudadana, with over 40 Southern CAN members and partners from over 20 developing countries from 7 September through 10 September.

This workshop is serving as a preparatory session for participants to share insights, information, and collective strategies towards the COP16 negotiations later in the year to be held in Cancun.  

The workshop is being made possible with support from the Danish 92 Group and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

CAN member Presencia Ciudadana, based in Mexico City, is ably hosting this workshop.


What:  CAN Southern Civil Pre-COP16 Preparatory Meeting

Where:  Mexico City

When:  7 September - 10 September, 2010

Who:  Over 40 participants from NGOs (mainly CAN members) in over 20 developing countries.


Contact:  David Turnbull, Executive Director, CAN-International, +1-202-316-3499, dturnbull[AT]climatenetwork.org


How to Avoid a 'COP-Flop' in Cancún

ECO salutes Tuvalu for exposing the weak ambition of the Umbrella Group in the LCA on Tuesday, warning that there was a risk of Cancún turning into another 'COP flop'.  This was a timely reminder that developed countries need to step up and show leadership by taking on strong commitments. The Umbrella Group need to do much better than merely offering a list of areas for progress at Cancún that somehow leaves aside developed country targets.  Even if they get their ‘comprehensive deal’ and remove all conditions, the targets offered at the present time, other than Norway and Japan, are woefully lacking in ambition. As is often the case, ECO wonders whether the Umbrella Group is at a different negotiation from the rest of us.  At the KP they announced they were pleased with progress.  Does this mean they’re on the verge of signing up to those very overdue KP second commitment period obligations? Finally, before the EU gets too self-assured, ECO would like to remind their negotiators that with the recession, the cost of achieving a 30% target is about the same as previously expected for a 20% target.  In fact, the EU has already achieved  emissions in 2009 that were 14% less than 1990 levels.  It would be a great signal of EU leadership to adopt a unilateral 30% target as a bridge-building initiative.

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