ast year, 2009, was a watershed forinternational climate action. In thecourse of twelve months, an array ofdeveloped and developing countries putforward unprecedented climate action plans andpledges. Although the Copenhagen summit failed toturn these pledges into legal commitments, theeponymous Accord it produced broke new ground oninternational co-operative action. This was no smallachievement. This year, the challenge for government leaders andnegotiators is to build on this political success.Ideally, this would mean agreement on acomprehensive and ambitious deal at the next UNclimate summit in Cancun in November. But weshould be careful not to let the perfect be the enemyof the good. An incremental approach, which buildsconfidence and trust, may be better suited to the post-Copenhagen world. This might mean agreement inCancun on those issues that are well advanced suchas REDD, with the final, comprehensive packagenegotiated at the 2011 summit in South Africa. THE OUTCOME OF COPENHAGENFor the first time the world has a high-level politicalroadmap for accelerating action on climate change.The Copenhagen Accord has been endorsed by over110 countries, representing at least 80 per cent ofworld emissions and a similar percentage of GDP.(The Kyoto Protocol by contrast covers less than 40per cent of global emissions). Collectively, the Accord commits countries to keepingthe rise in global temperature to less than 2ºC. Itsecures measureable, reportable and verifiableemission cuts and actions from developed anddeveloping countries respectively. It establishes"fast-start" finance for developing countries worthUS$30billion through to 2012, and commitments toraise US$100billion per annum by 2020. These andother commitments are both progressive andsubstantive.But let us be clear. The Accord is a foundation for aglobal deal, not the final structure. To get to ourultimate goal a range of obstacles still need to beremoved or negotiated over the coming year.First and foremost, countries need to settle theambiguous status of the Accord in order to realise itsfull potential. Failure to reach consensus inCopenhagen meant that the Accord was "noted"rather than "agreed" in the official UN decision.Consequently, the Accord (as of May 2010) has noofficial standing in the ongoing negotiation process,making it difficult to incorporate the many positiveelements endorsed by numerous world leaders. Rebuilding trust between countries would go a longway in creating a consensus on the Accord.Transparency and inclusiveness are the key wordshere. Much of the criticism associated with theAccord has been due to the way it was negotiated.Many developing countries felt excluded from theprocess. Repeating this mistake in the lead-up toCancun would be fatal to the UN process.WHERE DO WE NEED TO GO?Developed country leadership is a critical ingredientfor success in Cancun. This is especially true of theUS. Enactment of comprehensive and ambitiousAbove: Climate Groupfounder Dr StephenHoward Right: The Bella Centre,Copenhagen, venue oflast December's UNClimate ChangeConferenceTHE ACCORD AND BEYOND030POST-COPENHAGEN REVIEWLDR STEVE HOWARD, FOUNDER AND CEO, THE CLIMATE GROUPMain photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten?
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