The 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 6th
Conference of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (jointly "COP16"), in
Cancun, Mexico, concluded on December 11th.
The negotiations in Cancun came almost a year after the summit in Copenhagen
where high level negotiations fell short of producing a binding
post-2012 pact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing
aid to developing countries.
With no expectation of a binding global treaty resulting from the
conference, the Cancun summit concluded with the release of the Cancun Agreement, a
United Nations backed deal that commits countries to increase their
effort to battle climate change and preserve key principles of the
Kyoto protocol. The
Cancun Agreement, which endorses the view that climate change is
"one of the greatest challenges of our time" which
requires long-term and cooperative action in order to prevent
devastating global impacts, commits all countries to boosting their
efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to allow for such
plans to be scrutinized by the international community.
The Agreement also fleshes out the promise of developed countries
in Copenhagen to provide $100 billion (U.S.) by 2020 to aid in
greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the developing world. Under
the Agreement, developed countries have agreed to set up a
"Green Climate Fund" to manage the promised aid; set up
technology-transfer programs to help developing countries adopt
renewable energy technologies, and fund projects to reduce
deforestation and encourage tree planting. The fund is to initially
be managed by the World Bank.
Under the Agreement, countries have committed to looking at
extending the Kyoto protocol with a new round of emission-reduction
targets for the post 2012 period. However the heavy lifting of such
negotiations have been left for subsequent COP summits in Durban,
South Africa in 2011 and South Korea in 2012.
For its part, at COP16 Canada refused to provide a commitment to
new Kyoto targets, preferring the more flexible Copenhagen
approach. Canada also objected to the commitment for developed
nations that are signatories of Kyoto to cut emissions by 25 to 40
percent from 1990 levels by 2020. As a result of its commitments
under the Copenhagen Accord, the
Government of Canada has pledged to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020,
but only if the United States takes comparable action. These
commitments have not changed as a result of COP16.
Following the Cancun summit Canada's Environment Minister, the
Hon. John Baird, described the Cancun Agreement as a modest step
forward, noting "It's a first step to a single, new,
legally binding agreement". Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada's
Chief Negotiator and Ambassador for Climate Change noted "We have
laid good groundwork for further progress in these complex
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The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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