Copenhagen, Denmark, 19 December 2009, IUCN - World leaders in Copenhagen have taken a first and useful step to slow the course of climate change – a threat that is already affecting people, ecosystems and biodiversity in many parts of the world. A global, legally-binding climate change treaty must be the next step.
Although the Copenhagen Accord goes some way to address some of the critical issues that have been on negotiators’ agenda for the past two years, such as a financing package of US$ 100 billion per year by 2020 to assist developing countries to adapt to climate change and to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, others remained unsolved. There was no agreement on a long term global mitigation target of 50% by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change, and no agreement that global emissions should peak by 2015-2020. Both are, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, necessary to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at 450ppm and to avoid global temperature rises of more than 2⁰C above pre-industrial levels.
“IUCN urges all countries to build on the Copenhagen Agreement and to find the common ground necessary to deliver an equitable, comprehensive and legally-binding agreement by the end of 2010," says IUCN’s Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre.
IUCN welcomes the fact that the UNFCCC process is on course to continue the work that has been ongoing since Bali in 2007 on a number of important issues. Positive movement has been achieved on issues such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). Such momentum must be carried forward.
“A clear idea of what is required to make REDD-plus work has now emerged with real potential to contribute up to 30% of the global effort to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations over the next decade,” says Stewart Maginnis, Director of Environment and Development at IUCN. “Reducing the rate of deforestation and restoring degraded forest are among the most effective mitigation solutions. A further push must be made in 2010 towards full development of a REDD regime.”
Although biodiversity and ecosystem services are cost-effective solutions that can help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, it was only one year ago that this potential started to be appreciated in the climate negotiations.
“Solid support was received from parties at COP 15 to include the concept of Ecosystem-based adaptation, in the overall adaptation strategy that would form part of the post-2012 climate change regime,” says Neville Ash, Head of IUCN’s Ecosystem Management Programme. “Vulnerable communities across the globe already suffer from the impacts of climate change and so we need to ensure that progress to date results in a legally-binding deal on mitigation and adaptation as soon as possible.”
IUCN is encouraged by the strong link made in Copenhagen between gender equality and progress on climate change, backed by a wide range of governments.
“Women’s roles in households, communities, and as wardens of natural resources puts them at the vanguard when it comes to developing strategies for adapting to changing environmental realities,” says Lorena Aguilar, IUCN's Senior Gender Policy Officer