Positive signs in the climate change negotiations

The outlook from the climate negotiations in Doha is somewhat bleak, but nevertheless some successful steps were taken said Sweden's climate negotiator Anna Lindstedt at the breakfast meeting "After Doha", jointly arranged by Mistra Indigo and IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute on December 11th.

Some new and important steps were taken towards a new global climate treaty according to Ms. Lindstedt. These steps were important in order to complete the negotiations regarding the so-called Durban Platform by 2015.

The much-criticized Kyoto Protocol was also extended to 2020, and this is something she sees as a positive progress as well.

-  The Kyoto Protocol was the first attempt ever towards a global binding agreement, and it has worked. Without an extension of the protocol it is likely that we would see an uncontrolled increase in emissions up until the new agreement takes effect.

The Kyoto Protocol has also been a vital instrumental in building trust between the industrialized and developing countries. Within the UNFCCC framework all countries are given the chance to voice their specific concerns and questions, and this is a vital part of the process Ms. Lindstedt states.

At the breakfast meeting Lars Zetterberg, climate expert at IVL, also spoke on the subject of emissions trading and the changes within the EU ETS (Emission Trading System) that will take effect in 2013. For example, the EU will introduce common allocation rules in order to reduce distortions of competition.

Peter Stigson and Susanna Roth from IVL presented the results from a two-year research project that has compared the Copenhagen Pledges. The report analyzed the voluntary national pledges given, in order to limit emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2020. The report shows important differences in the given promises, both between countries and how ambitious the promises really are.

- It is important to remember that the Copenhagen pledges include the majority of global emissions, as well as commitments both from the USA and China. While the promises are not binding in a strict sense, our research shows that several major emitting countries consider them binding, says Peter Stigson, researcher at IVL.

Anna Lindstedt concluded the meeting with a positive outlook on the future.

- I think we need to have a more positive picture of the climate issue. It is much cheaper to do something about climate change now, and instead of just viewing this as a problem I think we should also see it as an opportunity to change our whole way of life, and that to something better.

Updated: 2012-12-17

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