Hang Together or Separately?

How global co-operation is key to a fair and adequate climate deal at Copenhagen

Climate change offers humanity no second chances. An agreement struck at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in just six months’ time could pave the way for a post-2012 climate regime that staves off catastrophic climate change. Delay or failure risks locking in runaway climate change, and will certainly multiply the costs of responding to its negative impacts – costs that are already being borne mostly by poor people.

Rich countries must reduce greenhouse gas emissions first and fastest, with ambitious targets at home based upon their responsibility for causing climate change and their capability to respond. But whilst deep emissions reductions in rich countries are still critical, climate security will now be won or lost as a result of co-operative efforts in which rich countries finance large-scale emissions reductions in developing countries. Establishing a Global Mitigation and Finance Mechanism can achieve these reductions while respecting principles of equity and delivering tangible development gains for poor people. This must be a centrepiece of the Copenhagen deal in December 2009. But much greater political attention and support is needed for this vital part of the deal to be developed in time.

Key recommendations from the report:

  • Copenhagen must deliver a fair and adequate climate deal: one that keeps global warming as far below 2°C as possible, and that reflects the historical responsibility for emissions and the economic capability of developed countries.
  • Rich countries must agree binding individual country targets that cut greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • A UNFCCC Mitigation and Finance Mechanism must be established to match mitigation actions from developing countries with the required finance from rich countries - $100bn per year as an absolute minimum.
  • Rich countries must agree to provide sufficient funding for capacity-building, mitigation and adaptation, through the purchase of their Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) from the UNFCCC Mitigation and Finance Mechanism.