Tianjin Climate Negotiations Sputter Amid Deep Structural Problems

October 9, 2010

Jennifer Haverkamp, 202-316-4914, jhaverkamp@edf.org
Annie Petsonk, 202-365-3237, apetsonk@edf.org
Jennifer Andreassen, 202-288-4867, jandreassen@edf.org

(TIANJIN, China – Oct. 9, 2010) Countries at the UN climate negotiations this week made only limited progress narrowing their differences in preparation for next month’s Conference of Parties (COP-16) in Cancún, Mexico.

As the first China-hosted UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks concluded Saturday night, countries are still struggling with some major overall structural issues, and have made disappointing progress on important forestry and land use policies.

“This meeting exposed the deep structural issues of the UN climate negotiations, and it’s unclear whether countries will be able to rise above these issues by Cancún,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, Environmental Defense Fund’s managing director for international policy and negotiations.

“Success in Cancún will be measured by adoption of a strong and balanced set of decisions, as well as a workplan for a way forward to South Africa in 2011,” Haverkamp said. “Cancún must put us back on a track to an eventual comprehensive approach to reducing global emissions and achieving climate safety.”

Setting a troubling precedent, the parties appear poised to finalize in Cancún accounting rules for emissions from forest management that would allow developed countries to claim carbon credits or avoid debits without changing their activities on the ground.

“Although negotiators spent the week crafting a mechanism to make this accounting method more transparent, the review process would do little more than make a bad approach transparently bad,” said Haverkamp.

Similarly disappointing was the lack of progress in the REDD+ Partnership, which 50 countries launched in May 2010 to provide billions of dollars to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

“We’re dismayed that a process that was launched with high hopes earlier this year got bogged down by debates over procedural hurdles, whether NGOs should be allowed into meetings, and whether donor countries have the funds available for partnership meetings,” Haverkamp said. “Donor countries must stop dickering and start releasing the funding needed for this partnership to make REDD+ a reality.”