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UNFCCC Executive Secretary: Copenhagen Offers “Window of Opportunity” We Cannot Afford to Miss

Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

17 March 2009: Speaking at “Carbon Market Insights 2009,” which is taking place from 17-19 March 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, noted that, although carbon prices are projected to decrease in 2009 due to the financial crisis, the carbon market has not collapsed. He added that its future depends on “the level of ambition of industrialized countries.” Recognizing that the Poznan Climate Change Conference of December 2008 had not been marked by any major political outcomes, he noted that it made progress in a number of specific areas of work, including the operationalization of the Adaptation Fund, the streamlining and speeding up of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and the full endorsement of an intensified negotiating schedule for 2009.

De Boer highlighted that since Poznan, the CDM Executive Board has taken a number of improvements forward. He underlined, however, that no agreement was reached on the extension of the share of proceeds to Joint Implementation and Emissions Trading. He also emphasized that the Poznan talks identified areas of convergence in the negotiations that need to be built on.

He then outlined four inter-related political prerequisites that he said have to be resolved to reach an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen, namely clarity on: ambitious targets for developed countries; nationally appropriate mitigation actions for developing countries; how financial and technological support for mitigation and adaptation will be generated; and on the institutional framework to deliver support for mitigation and adaptation. He concluded by stressing that little time is left and much work remains to be covered before Copenhagen, with the first negotiating session starting at the end of March in Bonn, Germany. He said the Bonn talks will address: further commitments for industrialized countries; the project-based mechanisms and emissions trading; and a focus document based on submitted ideas and proposals. He underscored that Copenhagen represents a “tiny window of opportunity” that cannot be missed and that must be “applauded as one of the key moments in history when humankind fundamentally changed the nature of its development.” [The Speech]