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A new report on climate negotiations – Still not enough!

A new report from Stockholm Environment Institute – Mobilizing Climate Change Action beyond the UNFCCC regarding the on-going negotiation on climate change  - did not clarify the changes needed to the current negotiation process, which is still too slow and fails to deliver the new entrepreneurs needed from the diplomatic sector and local governments. National governments are not the ones that will bring us a new agreement. Still, there is a growing consensus that climate action outside the UNFCCC need not undermine the climate negotiations, but rather, can complement them. The key is to ensure that all relevant institutions work together in a mutually supportive manner. The UNFCCC should play a central role on two levels - as the forum for negotiating a global agreement and pushing Parties to increase their ambition, and as a coordinator and catalyst for external actors.

But, it is not enough and the conclusion is to weak.

Summits in CopenhagenDurban and other world cities have been tasked with discussing national governments’ ambitions to find global agreements on sustainable development, Millennium Development Goals and climate change. Despite this, the climate deal is still up in the air and there are no clear signs of a breakthrough. Instead, I see passive national governments that are not engaged enough to bring us closer to any solid agreements.

But at the same time, we’ve seen more cities working together with businesses and their stakeholders to act positively and deliver solutions on sustainable development. It is these initiatives that have been most successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and finding ways to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

It seems fitting that Sweden, a country that has benefited from programmes often based in local areas and cities, should act as an example. The Swedish now use more bio energy than fossil fuel, so perhaps when discussions start on Monday, the participants will be inspired by the sort of Swedish initiatives highlighted in the two magazines Sustainable Solutions and Green solutions. It highlights some of the country’s most innovative solutions that have succeeded because they embrace local perspectives and involve all stakeholders.

As often, my question is  - will local governments will take the lead ahead of the national government and bring these powerful local solutions from its cities to the negotiating table?

Stockholm-based Kaj Embrén has been involved with Sustainable Development for more than 30 years. He writes at, where this blog was originally published.

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