(CANCUN, Mexico -- Dec. 11, 2010) The United Nations climate conference today approved a modest package of climate initiatives that includes preserving forests and creating an international green fund, according to Environmental Defense Fund, a leading U.S. environmental group.
"The conference pushed forward a modest, but important package of climate initiatives," said Jennifer Haverkamp, managing director of EDF's international climate program. "The U.N. has now put its seal of approval on compensating countries for protecting their forests. And Mexico's skillful leadership here has helped to rebuild confidence in the U.N. process."
In order to reach the agreements the conference postponed some of the toughest decisions, pledging to advance the issues before next year's climate summit in Durban, South Africa.
"The overall outcome represents only a fraction of what's needed," said Haverkamp. "Despite the best efforts by many countries, glaciers are still melting faster than this process is moving."
Key components of the Cancun Agreements include:
- Implementing key elements needed to compensate countries for protecting their forests under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). The initiative includes environmental safeguards for preserving threatened forests and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples. The conference agreed to allow state REDD+ programs for a limited time, with a clear goal of establishing nationwide programs.
- Creating a Green Climate Fund to help developing countries find ways to reduce their emissions and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.
- Transparency and accountability. The conference agreed to obligations and the development of guidelines for accurately accounting for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and for countries' financing commitments.