The negotiators’ burst of energy and resolve during the final straight of the Cancun climate talks has produced a cocktail of welcome and worrying results, says churches' international development agency Christian Aid.
"Copenhagen derailed the world’s effort to solve the climate crisis but here in Cancun, negotiators have just about heaved it back on track," said Mohamed Adow, Senior Adviser on Global Advocacy at Christian Aid.
He continued: "Countries have also moved forward on certain issues, with some progress on finance, forests, adaptation and technology. But, we need them to go much further – especially on dramatic cuts in rich countries’ emissions and firmly securing the future of the Kyoto Protocol."
"So we have mixed feelings," said Adow. "While the deal contains some potential promise for poor people already struggling with climate change, countries have delayed many key decisions, which condemns those people to an ever more precarious future."
"The new deal throws Kyoto a lifeline but it is very unclear whether it’s strong enough to pull it through to a second commitment period," he added. "Another concern is that the Cancun conclusion is silent on how far global emissions must be reduced to keep the temperature rise within safe levels. Parties must map a clear route towards an early review of the adequacy of the proposed cuts, if we are to keep warming below two degrees."
"We need to be honest with ourselves about what the science shows and the review will help with that. It should be completed in time for the next COP, in Durban.
"In places, the deal improves on the Copenhagen Accord, for instance with the creation of the Green Climate Fund. However, countries have failed to agree on where the money will come from. We’re also very troubled about the role the World Bank will play in the fund, because it has a poor record of protecting people and the environment," the Christian Aid spokesperson declared.
Christian Aid says it believes the talks themselves have shown encouraging potential for countries to listen to each other and keep talking and searching for common ground, even when it is hard to imagine there could be any.
"We hope that countries can build on this positive energy as they continue to work on the huge task of a fair and effective international response to climate change going into South Africa," said Mr Adow.
He went on: "It’s important that countries continue that work within the UN, which is the only forum which brings the whole world together to tackle common problems. And let’s remember that ‘the UN process’ is whatever member countries make it – not some separate entity with a life of its own. Its success reflects the political will that countries bring – or fail to bring – to the process."
Looking forward, Christian Aid said countries’ top priorities between now and Durban should include:
* Urgently closing the gigatonne gap between countries’ proposed cuts and what the science shows is needed
* Firmly securing a second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol in time for it to be finally agreed in Durban, and
* Clearly identifying the sources of the money that will form the Green Climate Fund and agreeing rules on how funds will be distributed.