After the crashing disappointment of Copenhagen, it’s reassuring that some progress was made at the Cancun Climate Summit in December, especially since expectations were so low.

According to The Climate Institute the three most significant achievements in the Cancun Agreement were:

??? Anchoring of national mitigation commitments: formal recognition and ‘anchoring’ of existing pollution targets and commitments from all major polluting countries, covering around 80 per cent of global emissions. This is the first time pollution commitments from US, China and all other major economies (both developed and developing) have been captured in a formal UN agreement. This illustrates a strong commitment by countries to take action at home to reduce their economic dependence on pollution.

??? New ‘Green Climate Fund’: agreement to establish a new fund to help mobilise US$100 billion a year by 2020 to support low pollution economic development; protect tropical forests and help the world’s most vulnerable people build resilience to escalating climate change impacts. This fund will help build confidence amongst governments and add momentum to the UN negotiations and, if implemented well, should unlock billions of dollars of investment in clean energy. The Fund can also open pathways to clean energy export opportunities for innovative Australian businesses and by buffering nation states against climate impacts limit risks of regional political instability.

??? Improved transparency: measures to improve transparency of domestic efforts to reduce pollution, including a process for international review of countries’ actions by technical experts. This includes the use of common international reporting guidelines, ensuring the data provided by countries is complete, comparable, transparent and accurate. This will have important implications for monitoring progress at the national and international level, and is politically very important as improved transparency was a key sticking point between the US and China.

There is also a summary of ‘where more work is needed’.