Change of Regime following Climate Change Conference in Lima

lima_climate_change_conference-bannerThe Lima Climate Change Conference (the Conference) convened from 1-14 December 2014, in Lima, Peru. 

The conference included the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 10).

Conference Room Lima CCThe  international event brought together over 11,000 participants, including approximately 6,300 government officials, 4,000 representatives from UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations, and 900 members of the media.

Negotiations in Lima focused on outcomes necessary to advance towards an international agreement on climate change in Paris at COP 21 in December 2015, including elaboration of the information, and process, required for submission of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) as early as possible in 2015 and progress on elements of a draft negotiating text.

635538038937641405-AP-Peru-Climate-Change-Conference-002Following lengthy negotiations on a draft decision for advancing the negotiations, COP 20 adopted the ‘Lima Call for Climate Action,’ a five page text which sets in motion the negotiations in the coming year towards a 2015 agreement, the process for submitting and reviewing INDCs, and enhancing pre-2020 ambition. Countries already threatened by climate change – such as small island states which face being swallowed up by rising seas – were promised in the agreement a “loss and damage” program of financial aid.

The all-inclusive nature of the emissions cuts constitutes a break with one of the defining principles of the last 20 years of climate talks – that wealthy countries should carry the burden of cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

climate-change-homeCritics argue that the adopted text no longer makes it mandatory for countries to provide detailed information about their prospect reductions targets. They call the agreement a watered down version of what was expected. Indeed, with 2014 on course to be the hottest year on record, environmental campaigners have warned the plan was far too weak to limit warming to the internationally agreed limit of 2C above pre-industrial levels or to protect poor countries from climate change.

Although the Lima deal is weak in many respects it also represents a fundamental breakthrough in the shape of the global climate regime. In providing for obligations for all states, rather than a developing country/developed country divide, these negotiations have paved the way towards an agreement which all countries, including the heaviest polluters such as the US and China, can sign.

To find out more about the outcome of the meeting please visit the official website of the IISD Reporting Services available here.

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