EU sets out Cancun wishlist

The new EU Cancun pact should stress the need for tougher emission targets.

Pledges from both rich and poor countries are expected at the summit scheduled for this December.

A list of “elements of a possible balanced package” is circulating amongst the 27-member union, yet this list does not indicate if the emission pledges would be legally binding.

Pledged targets of developed countries have added up to emission reductions from the rich world of less than 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, yet these developed countries are insisting on cuts of at least 40 percent from the industrialized world.

The EU document stresses improved carbon trading mechanisms and agreement on new ones.

Representatives at the summit are expected to reach a deal for the implementation of new mechanisms.

Improvements on existing trade mechanisms such as the clean development mechanism (CDM) will be studied.

So far, the CDM has not been able to scale up to the necessary level of emission reductions, include poor countries, or keep richer nations from purchasing offsets without engaging in extensive domestic abatement efforts.

Rich countries are reluctant to project targets until rules for the carbon market are specified, while poor countries refuse to compromise on trading rules until they are aware of the reduction targets of developed countries.

While the current UN carbon market does not allow links to non-UN mechanisms, the lack of US participation has resulted in a need to look into a potential tie-up with domestic US markets.

MRV movements
The EU also hopes to reach an agreement on the controversial issue of monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV).

While much of a MRV system was agreed upon in Copenhagen last year, negotiations faltered at the UN meeting in August when developed countries sought to tie MRV conditions to fast-start climate financing.

Agreement could be achieved if developed countries provide enhanced reports on their commitments every other year and nationally communicating with the UN every four years.

A deal could also be struck for an MRV structure to support developing countries while implementing a set of actions for MRV capacity-building buoyed by fast-start finance.

Balanced package
UN climate chief Christiana Figueres requested representatives attending the week long Tianjin summit to name certain issues to be concluded at the Cancun assembly.

However, to gain the support of both rich and poor countries, topics such as deforestation, technology transfer, financing and adaptation must be proposed in a “balanced package.”

Other areas expected to make progress include the surplus of assigned amount units (AAUs), rules for land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), capacity building, and the length of the next commitment period.