Cuffe welcomes modest progress in Cancun

Climate talks produce $100bn climate fund to protect poor nations

The Green Party’s Minister with responsibility for climate change Ciarán Cuffe said that a deal reached in the early hours of the morning at climate talks in Mexico represented a modest step forward, but that time was running out for a binding international deal, which must be reached by the next round of talks in South Africa in 2011.

“The Cancún agreements will save the UNFCCC process, which climate campaigners expect to produce an international deal to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and which was in danger of falling apart after last year’s disappointing Copenhagen summit. But saving the planet will still take some time – and we unfortunately do no have time on our side,” he said.

“There are positives to take from the Cancún talks. I very much welcome the steps to protect tropical forests and new processes for sharing clean energy technologies. The new $100bn green fund, which will raise a year by 2020 to protect poor nations against climate impacts is also a very positive step forward.”

“But our window of opportunity is closing. The COP17 round of talks in Durban next year simply must produce a strong and binding international deal on reducing emissions and limiting global warming. More than 10 years ago world leaders established the Kyoto Protocol, which was an ambitious and decisive move. We need similar ambition and determination to find a viable successor to Kyoto.”

On Thursday evening Minister Cuffe addressed the talks in Cancún and promised a €23m contribution from Ireland towards the Global Climate Change Alliance. In his speech he also committed to early enactment of domestic climate change legislation. “Ireland is playing its part at home. We will meet our greenhouse gas limitation target for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol. We have commenced transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable society. The Irish Government is currently finalizing a legislative proposal that will provide statutory backing for our immediate and medium term mitigation targets, and our longer-term transition objective. Our outlook is progressive and the legislation will provide the clarity and certainty for all stakeholders. The legislation is being progressed as a matter of urgency and I expect it to be in place early next year,” he said.