Lima: Burden-sharing mindset leads to final-day gridlock

A think-tank led by Lord Stern claims that 'trying to share the burden of carbon cuts' has hindered climate-deal negotiations in Lima - where just one paragraph of text has apparently been agreed upon in the final day of negotiations.

The report, released yesterday (11 December), concludes that the burden-sharing options currently being discussed at Lima are likely to lead to ‘divisive and unambitious’ pledges on climate change. The claim was made to look particularly prescient by a Guardian report which states that the final day of negotiating was yielding minimal positive momentum. 

Lord Nicholas Stern, Alina Averchenkova, and Dimitri Zenghelis – the report’s authors – recommend that countries recognise that measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions have multiple benefits, including the reduction of local air pollution and traffic congestion, and that national pledges should be based on realising opportunities instead of ‘burden-sharing’.

The report states: “While the outcomes of most of these approaches in terms of emissions would look little different from those resulting from ‘burden-sharing’, the outcomes in terms of economic development would be meaningfully different, and would encourage greater ambition and more collaboration to improve the affordability of, and increase the opportunities from, decarbonisation.”

Clock stopping

Christian Aid’s senior climate change adviser Mohamed Adow said this final day gridlock is ’embarassing’ for diplomats.

“Right now we are facing the prospect of being no further forward than we were when we left last year’s meeting in Warsaw,” said Adow. “The latest text which countries are working on has been stripped down to its bare bones to accommodate the whims of the lowest common denominator. There is almost nothing here which countries can show for their work over the past year and they should feel embarrassed.

“As it stands we risk effectively stopping the clock on a successful outcome in Paris. Ministers here have a few hours left to salvage this situation and include in the Lima outcome plans for how national contributions to tackling climate change will be assessed.” 

Unfortunately the final-day is symptomatic of the conference as a whole, as Ed Davey noted on arrival that few countries appeared committed to getting a deal done.

Catch up with the latest goings-on at Lima with edie’s round-up of the key points.

Brad Allen

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