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UNGA Second Committee Panel Discusses Climate Change Negotiations

© UN13 October 2009: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) Second Committee participated in a panel discussion focused on “Climate Change Negotiations: Road to Copenhagen,” on 13 October.

The event was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) under the auspices of the Second Committee.

Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning, warned against “fashionable” pessimism at this point in the process, and stated that “Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophesy that won't get us the deal we need.” He suggested that “clear-eyed realism” might get negotiations back on track, and also emphasized the need to “get down to brass tacks in Copenhagen” regarding financing.

Michael Levi, Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations, warned against fixating on emission reduction targets themselves, and suggested that countries instead should focus on policies and measures at the national level and, internationally, the creation of a strong regime for measurement and review of what countries are doing.

Massimo Tavoni, Research Associate at the Princeton Environmental Institute and Senior Researcher at Eni Enrico Mattei Foundation, said global poverty-reduction strategies must go hand in hand with climate-change policy, and that it is possible to allow people, particularly low carbon emitters, to meet basic energy needs and also mitigate climate change.

Tariq Banuri, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), said climate change is largely viewed as a zero sum game, but suggested that an approach based on sovereign, conditional and joint commitments could transform climate change into a positive sum game.

Jessica Seddon Wallack, Director of the Centre for Development Finance at the Institute for Financial Management and Research in Chennai, India, emphasized implementation as an important element on the road to Copenhagen. [UNGA Second Committee News Release][Panel Discussion website]