The top United Nations climate change official said on Saturday that countries have made progress over the past week in defining what could be achieved at the negotiations slated to begin next month in Cancún, Mexico.
“This week has got us closer to a structured set of decisions that can be agreed in Cancún. Governments addressed what is doable in Cancún, and what may have to be left to later,” Christiana Figueres said on the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference that took place in Tianjin, China.
Ms. Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that governments had discussed each element of a package of decisions that they will need to finalize when they meet in Cancún from 29 November to 10 December.
These include a long-term shared vision, adapting to the inevitable effects of climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, key operational elements of climate finance and capacity building, along with the future of the Kyoto Protocol.
Under the Protocol, which has been ratified by 191 of the 194 parties to the Convention, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments.
The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
Ms. Figueres noted that action on climate change that could be agreed in Cancún and beyond was about turning “small climate keys to unlock very big doors” into a new level of climate action among rich and poor, business and consumers, governments and citizens.
“If climate financing and technology transfer make it possible to give thousands of villages efficient solar cookers and lights, not only do a nation's entire carbon emissions drop, but children grow healthier, women work easier and families can talk, read and write into the evening,” she said.
“In the end, this is about real people being given the opportunity to take control of their future stability, security and sustainability,” she added at the close of the talks that drew around 2,500 participants from more than 176 countries, including government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions.