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The Results and Relevance of the Cancun Climate Conference

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The results of CP16/CMP6 held from November 29 through December 10, 2010 in Cancun, Mexico, offer reason for optimism even though a post-2012 climate deal was not struck and many thorny issues were moved forward to CP17 to be held in Durban in December 2011. Both the UNFCCC as well as the Kyoto Protocol governing bodies adopted comprehensive, new and substantive decisions in Cancun. These make further steps toward a new legally-binding climate agreement, legitimize emission targets in the Copenhagen Accord and, most importantly, restore the diplomatic trust needed to reach consensus on a climate deal in 2011. This final achievement, perhaps more than anything else, revived the often contentious UNFCCC negotiating process among more than 190 countries. This policy brief provides an overview of the negotiations leading up to CP16/CMP16 and an analysis of the most important decisions taken in Cancun, as well as a 'to-do-list' of the more and less controversial issues for which the Cancun Agreements laid the groundwork, but which will have to be negotiated and decided in South Africa later this year.


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