Update from Cancun, 3rd Day

Amy Higgins
On the third day of talks both tracks held plenary meetings in the Moon Palace complex. Many developed and developing countries have expressed the need for a legal outcome from both the Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) and the Kyoto Protocol tracks. The future of dual-track system has come up in discussions more after Japan announced they did not want a second commitment period of Kyoto. Small-island states requested that a contact group be established to discuss the overlaps in the two-tracks and to explore how that could lead to a legally-binding outcome from COP 17, and this proposal passed without objection. Working groups met to discuss progress on adaptation, mitigation, finance & technology. In the Mitigation group, developing countries were interested in discussing financial support for nationally appropriate mitigation plans (NAMAs). The concept of “legally-binding” or a “legal outcome” seems to be gaining traction as several developing countries have indicated this is now an acceptable option, though it remains to be seen what that means to different countries. The atmosphere remains positive, according to several delegates. Smaller groups of island states or regions or shared interests continue to meet in order to formulate their positions on issues that will affect them.

In the Cancun Mezze building, an IPCC side event discussed the upcoming 5th assessment report, which will have a large portion on impacts of and vulnerability to climate change, as well as an atlas that will have region-specific information on climate change which will be of interest to humanitarian groups. A side event on the Global Framework for Climate Services, which aims to give both governments and farmers better access to meteorological data, may help humanitarian groups predict food shortages or flooding. In a similar vein, a side event on remote sensing, the use of a radio signals and satellite, may be useful in helping humanitarian groups during disaster response. Images were shown of the Pakistan flood and how the maps were used to inform aid headed to the region. There was also an event on Gender and climate change.