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he Cancun Agreements adopted at COP16 boosted the credibility and trust in theUNFCCC negotiation process. However,subsequent discussions this year haverevealed that much remains to be done to advancenegotiations amid the growing complexity of themultilateral process.Following an initial bounce back from the economiccrisis, the world economic outlook has weakened.Growth is losing steam in many of the advancedeconomies and uncertainty has reached new highs.Public and private debts are holding back investmentand consumption. Policymakers are currentlyconfronted by the aftermath of two earthquakes inAsia-Pacific, geopolitical upheaval in North Africa, anda still fragile economic recovery. The social impacts ofthese crises are all too evident, as is the need forurgent policy action. Governments are caught in avicious circle. They are being forced by markets to takeshort-term, reactive policy measures on an almostweekly basis. Frequently these policies have onlyshort-term impact on confidence and have notsucceeded to calm increasingly turbulent markets.There is a lesson here: emergency, short-term actionsthat are not perceived to be part of a coherent medium-term strategy will only bring short-term relief. Policymakers can break this perverse cycle, but they need toseize the initiative, rather than simply react to the beatof the markets. Against this backdrop of the visible andurgent, there is a risk that climate change and thesignificant outcomes achieved at the conference inCancún last year may fade into the rear view mirror ofpolicymakers. Yet, fighting climate change remainsboth a pressing short- and a long-term priority. Weneed to do more to enhance their resilience to a widerange of natural hazards, including those exacerbatedby climate change, by providing support to the poorestand most vulnerable both within and among societies.Meanwhile, mitigating climate change should not beseen as a luxury, but as part of the solution totransitioning from a still fragile recovery to a moresustainable growth path. A whole host of critical issues need to be tackled inDurban. These include the future of the KyotoProtocol, mobilising and allocating the climate financethat has been committed, along with other issues suchas new market-based mechanisms, reducingemissions from deforestation and forest degradation indeveloping countries (REDD plus), and theimplementation of the Cancun Adaptation Framework,the Green Climate Fund, and the TechnologyMechanism. A robust system for measuring, reportingand verifying (MRV) mitigation action and financeflows will also be essential to build trust.At the OECD, we are looking at the approaches thatcan help countries move towards low-carbon and moreresource-efficient growth - a greener growth path. TheOECD has a proven track record in advancing climatepolicy; in particular, through the OECD/IEA ClimateChange Expert Group (CCXG), which provides a forumfor country experts and negotiators to discuss and findcommon ground on key technical issues in thenegotiation agenda such as MRV and carbon markets.Our analysis shows that ambitious global action tomitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is not onlynecessary, but economically rational. The potentialthat exists to generate sizable fiscal revenues from theuse of market instruments in climate policy isespecially attractive in current times of financialhardship. OECD analysis estimates that, ifindustrialised countries were to achieve their emissionAbove: Angel Gurría146GLOBAL VOICESTTODURBANAND BEYOND:SUMMATIONANGEL GURRÍA, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD)

GLOBAL VOICES147reduction targets using only auctioned tradablepermits or carbon taxes, they could raise revenues of asmuch as 0.6% of GDP (or USD $250 billion) by 2020.Revenues from carbon taxes or auctioned permitscould be used to support climate change action, forexample to finance adaptation and mitigation indeveloping countries. Coming out of the economiccrisis, revenues could also be used for fiscalconsolidation, while in emerging economies, suchrevenues could finance other pressing priorities, suchas education, health care and poverty alleviation. Developments at COP16 in Cancun represented animportant breakthrough for action to limit global GHGemissions and help to build cleaner economies. Butthe momentum needs to be maintained to COP 17 inDurban. On GHG mitigation and costs, it is promisingthat many countries are willing to commit to specifictargets or actions. However, OECD analysis suggeststhat delayed action, or taking only moderate action upto 2020 (as reflected in the Copenhagen/Cancunpledges) comes at a higher cost as it increases thepace and scale of efforts needed after 2020, and alsoposes a higher environmental risk.The use of market-based approaches, such asemissions trading schemes (ETS) and carbon taxes,will be critical to keep the costs of action affordableand to build-up a global carbon market. An importantfirst step in pricing GHG emissions is to reformenvironmentally harmful subsidies that support fossilfuel consumption or production. OECD analysis foundthat removing subsidies to fossil fuel consumption inemerging and developing countries alone could reduceglobal GHG emissions by 6 per cent in 2050compared with business-as-usual. It would also makethe economies undertaking the reforms more efficient,reduce the burden on scarce government budgets, andalleviate the potentially distortive effects of subsidieson competition. While consumer subsidies are large inmany emerging and developing countries, OECDcountries also support fossil fuel production andconsumption by an estimated US$ 45-75 billion perannum in recent years, according to a new OECDinventory of support mechanisms.Providing clear price signals to consumers is critical toraise awareness, empower choices and encouragehouseholds to save energy and limit emissions. Resultsfrom a survey of over 10,000 households across tenOECD countries confirm the impact of economicincentives on household behaviour. The results of thesurvey also confirm the important complementary roleplayed by information-based measures, such as energyefficiency labelling of appliances and housing, whichcan help to strengthen the price signals. We also need to move quickly to enhance action onadaptation through international co-operation anddomestic action at national, sectoral and local levels.The negative impacts of climate change will hit poorPhoto: UN Photo/A Fisher