Four Essential Steps to the Copenhagen Agreement

NEW YORK – The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this year will be the moment in history when humanity can rise to the challenge and decisively deal with the issue. It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that greenhouse gas emissions must be radically reduced to prevent climate change from sliding into climate chaos.

In 2007, in Bali, the 192 Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change committed themselves to launching negotiations on strengthened action against climate change. This process is to culminate in an ambitious negotiated outcome at the end of 2009, which needs to enter into force before January 2013.

This leaves just nine months to conclude one of the most complicated international negotiating processes in the world today. Last year, negotiators developed a better understanding of what they want from the different aspects of the action plan they agreed in Bali, and they gathered ideas and proposals. The political process has now reached a phase at which areas of convergence are emerging. These areas will form the basis of an initial draft agreement, to be presented in Bonn in June.

In order to enter into force around the world before 2013, the Copenhagen agreement must meet the political requirements of all participating countries. For this to happen, clarity on four key political points is needed this year.