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From Copenhagen to Cancun – Lessons Learnt and Future Opportunities


Some countries are not prepared to wait for a new international treaty to shift to a low carbon, resource efficient 21st-century green economy. More than 30 per cent of China’s stimulus package is being spent on high-speed rail, renewables and energy efficiency projects. In Korea, 90 per cent of stimulus is similarly earmarked for green investments. About 30 developing countries and economies in transition have requested UNEP’s assistance in transforming their economies and development strategies to a green economy. Some countries are moving forward because it makes economic sense as well as social and environmental sense.

Meanwhile, some of the old geopolitical structures are being stood on their head. In April 2010, General Electric of the United States announced that it and the State of California had signed a broad cooperative agreement with China’s Ministry of Railways. Chinese labourers played a crucial role in the construction of America’s railroads 150 years ago; today China supplies not workers but high-tech know-how.

The challenge for the G8 and the G20 is to be part of that change while recognising that only through a global, fair and equitable agreement can climate change be addressed fairly and equitably in all 193 countries, all at different points in development and some acutely vulnerable to climatic impacts.

The high-speed train is leaving for some, but others – including small islands and countries on continents such as Africa, Asia and Latin America – may be left behind if a multilateral solution under either the UN Framework Convention, its Kyoto Protocol or an inclusive and fully supported Copenhagen Accord cannot be found.”