Lima climate talks: What was (and wasn’t) agreed…

The recent UN climate talks concluded with international representatives drawing up a draft proposal which will commit all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But is that enough to limit global warming?

The five-page text agreed on Sunday (14 December) has received a mixed reaction with the general consensus among environmental leaders being that the talks are an ‘important step’ towards an agreement in Paris, although strong leadership and collaboration between all countries must continue to ensure goals are met. (Scroll down for draft proposal)

–Lima climate change talks reach global warming agreement–

Environmental groups have criticised world governments for ‘remaining far from where they need to be’ and leaving the world vulnerable to a 4-6C average global warming. COP20 negotiators have also acknowledged that they had put off the most difficult decisions until later.

They have deemed the proposal a text ‘driven by the interests of rich developed countries and corporations’, which does ‘little to address the climate crisis.’

Key points

> Negotiators agreed that all countries must reach an ambitious agreement in 2015 which reflects different national circumstances.

> Developed country leaders were urged to provide financial support to developing countries, especially those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, to help them adapt.

> Donations to the Green Climate Fund – to help in the transition to a low-carbon economy – exceeded the UN $10bn goal for 2014.

> Countries decided in detail how to present their national contributions by March 2015.

Industry reaction

Lord Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change

“This is an important step towards a new agreement at the climate change summit in Paris in December 2015, but it still leaves a number of important issues to be worked out between countries over the next 12 months.

“It is vital that countries put forward before the Paris summit intended nationally determined contributions that are both ambitious and credible. However, it is already clear that the scale of action to control and reduce annual emissions of greenhouse gases will collectively not be consistent with a pathway that will mean a reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous global warming of more than 2C above pre-industrial level.”

Ed Davey, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary

“This is an agreement that unites all nations, unlocking the door to the world’s first global climate deal in Paris next year. The talks were tough but the Lima Call for Climate Action shows a will and commitment to respond to the public demand to tackle climate change.

“I am proud the UK has been leading the way – by our laws on low carbon energy and climate, by successfully championing ambitious targets to cut emissions in Europe and with our central role here in Lima.

“The next 12 months will be critical and the UK’s leadership will be needed more than ever in the difficult negotiations ahead – but we have to succeed because the threat to our children’s future is so serious.”

Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group

“After a 33-hour overtime marathon to conclude negotiations, the Lima climate change talks haven’t delivered as clear cut an outcome as many wished for and significant work remains to be done in 2015 if the world is to prevent dangerous levels of climate change.

“But they have at least kept hopes for a strong climate change deal in Paris alive and the Peruvian delegation should be given much credit for that.

“As we enter the important year that is 2015, businesses have a key role to play in speaking louder and in bigger numbers in favour of a strong climate deal to add their full weight to the essential efforts of civil society and the world’s progressive governments.

“The economic, social and environmental imperative of preventing the worst impacts of climate change warrants such an unprecedented global coalition.”

Jennifer Morgan, global director of the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute

“The most inspiring development in Lima was an outpouring of support for a long-term effort to reduce emissions. Over a hundred countries now advocate for a long-term mitigation goal. This would send a strong signal that the low-carbon economy is inevitable.

“Support grew for establishing regular cycles to review and strengthen countries’ actions to curb emissions, adapt to climate change and support low-carbon growth. These cycles of improvement are critical to ensure the Paris agreement drives climate action for not years but decades to come.

“We cannot afford to let up. With continued leadership and trust, the world can unite around a climate agreement that will reduce climate risks and open new economic opportunities. This vision is within sight, but it’s up to all countries to make it a reality.”

Susann Scherbarth, campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe

“We have to tell the truth – the progress is pitiful and fails us given the scale of the planetary emergency. World governments remain far from where they need to be if they are to make an adequate equitable agreement to tackle climate change in Paris 12 months from now. An agreement must include strong action to cut emissions by 2020.

“The European Union has come here claiming to be committed to very ambitious action, but the truth is that Europe and other industrialised countries are at the root of climate injustice.

“People around the world, especially the poorest, are already suffering from the changing climate, yet rich country governments refuse to quit dirty energy and embrace a clean renewable future.”

Pascoe Sabido, campaigner and researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory

“If COP20 is supposed to lay the road to Paris, then polluters have taken control of the steering wheel and are driving us off a climate cliff.

“They may have left Lima triumphant, but through building our power at the local, national and international level, we can put the voices of people before polluters, reclaim the wheel and steer the world towards the real, bottom-up solutions that are not just necessary but already out there.”

Draft framework: Lima Call for Climate Action 

Lois Vallely

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