UNFCCC Media Alert: Introduction by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres to noon press briefing at UNHQ in New York, 19 September 2011

20 September 2011 | Uncategorized

New York – “We are only eleven weeks away from the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, where the world expects governments to take the next significant step in building an effective, global system to address climate change.

I am confident that governments will be able to take a significant step, if they solve four key issues in Durban.

The first is the resolution of the political question of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. There has to be a clear decision as to how the global collective effort – not only of industrialized countries (whilst they do certainly have to take the lead) – but how the global collective effort to reduce emissions will go forward and how that will be done in a transparent manner, with greater ambition growing over time.

The second is to define the rules for the review. Under the Cancun Agreements, countries decided that they would engage in a review starting 2013. But the rules need to be decided on prior to that, and that review would then be a review of the adequacy of the efforts of countries at that time with respect to the science.

The third is clarity on climate finance. There I would say there are two big chapters. One is the approval of the first cut of the design of the Green Climate Fund, and the other is a process to ramp up climate finance up to the USD 100 billion a year that was agreed to under the Cancun Agreements to be available by the year 2020, but certainly necessitating a gradual ramp-up.

The fourth issue that needs special attention in Durban is the operationalization of both the new Technology Mechanism agreed in Cancun, as well as the Adaptation Committee which is the institution that Parties have developed that will take forward the adaptation efforts around the world.

Here in New York, the Presidents of Mexico and South Africa are actively consulting with other Heads of State on at least these four issues, which are probably the more contentious and the more political issues. And its very clear that world leaders here will again see that they are in the deep midst of economic crisis. I certainly sympathize with that.

However, it is also very clear that no matter what short-term solutions will be put in place by governments to deal with this current economic crisis, those solutions will not be able to maintain growth and stability throughout a longer period unless they are imbued within a global climate change solution. So it is very clear that even if we have short-term solutions that we need to put in place, we also have to have long-term solutions that need to devised to take us to a low-carbon and climate-resilient world.”

About the UNFCCC
With 195 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 193 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 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.