The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol on 16 February 2005 marked a turning point in international climate policy. For the first time, industrialised countries have taken on binding commitments to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. However, the future challenges for international climate policy are still enormous. Considering the need for increased mitigation efforts to prevent "dangerous" climate change, the need to support those regions and communities that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change but also the demand for further economic development in many parts of the world, the role of developing countries in post-2012 climate negotiations will be crucial. However, the deadlocks in negotiations on "future action" in recent years indicated that there is a real need to carefully prepare the start of negotiations on post-2012 agreements with the participation of all relevant parties in advance.
It was against this background that the Wuppertal Institute (Germany) and the Energy Research Centre (South Africa) initiated a dialogue among 14 researchers from all world regions, most of them form developing countries, to discuss building blocks of a future international framework to combat climate change. The objective of this open-ended "South-North Dialogue on Equity in the Greenhouse" was to have a frank exchange of different views and positions in order to build an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding. It resulted in the joint proposal "Towards an adequate and equitable global climate agreement" that offers guidance on the design of a future climate agreement and the process of achieving it.
This policy package outlines equitable approaches to mitigation - including both, deep cuts in the North, and differentiated mitigation commitments for developing countries. It further examines adaptation, as no agreement will be equitable or adequate if it fails to incorporate appropriate burden sharing mechanisms to address the needs of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It, finally, includes recommendations on the political process of achieving such an agreement by outlining a leadership strategy.
In a second project phase, this dialogue is broadened to the political level. It comprises workshops in Asia, Africa and Latin America with climate negotiators from the respective region. The aim is to discuss key elements of the proposal contained in the report in more detail but also to foster mutual understanding and trust between negotiators thereby facilitating negotiations for the post-2012 period. Two regional workshops already took place in Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania, October 2004) and Jakarta (Indonesia, May 2005). The series of regional workshops will be completed with the Latin American workshop in Mexico City in February 2006.