A common long-term vision of the Cancun Agreements aims to limit the warming of the average global temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It also recognises the need to strengthen this target on the basis of scientific progress and to consider a 1.5°C target at a later stage. The common vision of the Cancun Agreement does not focus on an explicit long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, GHG concentrations in the atmosphere or a peak year. Instead, it postpones such a decision to the next meeting. (Kelly Levin) The parties` agreement in Cancún on a text of positive policy approaches and incentives to reduce deforestation and degradation (known as REDD+) addresses a number of issues that have been highlighted since the Bali Action Plan in 2007. The parties will have to work on these issues towards the next round of climate negotiations in Durban, but this agreement shows that countries are ready to have difficult discussions and reach agreement, which is a good start in the run-up to the discussions. (Florence Daviet, Fred Stolle) The question of the legal form of the agreement was not resolved in Cancun and will be discussed next year on the eve of Durban. The ad hoc working group on long-term cooperation has been extended by one year and should continue to examine “legal options with a view to completing an agreed outcome”. This means that the parties have yet to decide whether to adopt a legally binding agreement supplementing the Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding agreement inclusive for all countries that would replace the Kyoto Protocol or another option in which the parties would cooperate through COP decisions and not a new treaty. (Jacob Werksman, WRI`s director of institutions and governance, will soon have a position on legal form.) Unlike Copenhagen, the majority of countries described the Mexican presidency process as transparent, which provides a basis of confidence for the negotiations. Countries felt consulted inclusively in 2010 and were not worried about seeing a “secret text” emerge and surpass their work in Cancun. This trust was fundamental to reaching an agreement. However, many of the objectives presented under the Copenhagen Accord do not clearly understand what they contain or do not contain.
Therefore, the agreement mandates the UNFCCC secretariat to organize workshops to clarify the assumptions underlying emission reduction targets, including those related to land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and offsets. These workshops are also used to set up options for improving ambition. The lack of significant progress between the parties over the past eighteen years and effective political agreements to reduce CO2 emissions has prompted some countries, such as the United States, to refrain from ratifying the main UNFCCC agreement – the Kyoto Protocol – largely because the treaty does not apply to developing countries, which are now among the largest emitters of CO2. However, it did not take into account the historical responsibility for climate change since industrialization, which has been the subject of controversy during the discussions, and the responsibility for emissions from the consumption and import of goods.  It also led Canada to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011 out of a desire not to bring its citizens to sanctions that would result in transfers of wealth from Canada.  Both the United States and Canada are considering voluntary internal emission reduction schemes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions outside of the Kyoto Protocol.  In addition to the Kyoto Protocol (and its amendment) and the Paris Agreement, the Parties to the Agreement have agreed on other commitments at the UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties. . . .