Cancun climate agreement: Analysis of the text

The Cancun agreement commits the world to a series of decisions under the United Nations. But what has the world agreed to?

Source: Telegraph, 9:57PM GMT 12 Dec 2010


That climate change is “one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

That warming of the climate system is “unequivocal and that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.

To keep global temperature rise below 2C (3.6F).

To reconsider in 2015 whether the goal for global average temperature rise should be decreased to 1.5C.

That fighting climate change requires a paradigm shift that requires “more sustainable production and consumption and lifestyles”.


That global emissions of greenhouse gases should peak “as soon as possible”.

That the world needs to make “deep cuts” in carbon emissions. But developed countries must “take the lead” and poor countries need more time to develop.

Developed nations will consider extending the Kyoto Protocol, but only as part of a wider agreement that commits all countries to making emissions cuts.

Developing countries will reduce their emissions as part of a global deal.

Rich countries will report on emissions cuts against international standards.

Poor nations must also report on emissions cuts against international standards, but only after funding has been delivered to help build the appropriate mechanisms.


To pay developing countries £60 million ($100 million) per annum by 2020 to adapt to climate change and develop green technology.

To set up an adaptation committee to help poor countries cope with the floods and droughts that climate change could cause.

To consider “a climate risk insurance facility” to help poor countries cope with extreme weather impacts.

To share green technology.

To pay poor countries not to chop down trees. The new scheme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) protects the rights of indigenous peoples and promotes biodiversity. It also leaves the door open for big business to get involved in protecting trees though the carbon offsetting market.

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