UNFCCC Executive Secretary Stresses the Role of EU Leadership in Climate Change Negotiations

19 April 2011: Addressing the High-level Inter-parliamentary Debate on Climate Change at the European Parliament, in Brussels, Belgium, Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, observed that, in spite of all its encouraging outcomes, Cancun did not solve key political questions.

She underlined that the outcome in Cancun was encouraging, as the Cancun Agreements include: a Technology Mechanism; an Adaptation Committee; the Green Climate Fund; and the strongest signal the international community has ever given to the private sector on the need to move toward low-carbon economies. She stressed, however, that assessments indicate that the sum total of official pledges amount to only 60% of what is needed to limit the temperature increase to 2ºC, and called for an increase in the level of ambition to "close the remaining 40% gap." Figueres further noted that Cancun did not solve the legal framework for capturing emission reduction targets and actions. She then underlined that"much work needs to be done in 2011 to make the next UN Climate Change Conference in Durban a success."

In this context, she underscored the responsibility of the EU for leadership in the inter-governmental climate change negotiations, calling for a show of ambition in raising its target for mitigating emissions to 30%. She welcomed the EU's readiness to explore signing up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and stressed the need for a scaling up of the market-based mechanisms for mitigating climate change. [Christiana Figueres' Statement]