Editorial: Why Lima matters

Photo credit: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

This week policy makers have begun two weeks of marathon COP20 climate negotiations in Lima, Peru. This will probably be the most important, least talked about climate summit yet.

Media interest in this COP is low as no one is expecting a meaningful outcome; the only thing world leaders seem to agree on is that no deal will be reached. Everyone however concurs that a global legally binding climate deal must be agreed at COP21 in Paris next year.

Key world players have drawn up their pledges and legal commitments in time to be presented early next year, including contributions from the three biggest; the EU, US and China. China will for the first time ever legally commit to binding targets, including those outlined in the recent US – China climate deal, and the EU recently released new ambitious targets which will form their contribution to Paris.

The fact that the three main players contributions are already set in stone may dismay developing countries who are keen to push ambitions and targets somewhat further. This is why it is so crucial that when policy makers sit down at the negotiation table in Lima they do so with the aim of already negotiating the upcoming Paris deals and the Lima Accord should reflect the commitment to make the COP21 pledges binding. UN’s climate chief Christiana Figueres is fully aware of the importance of this and has asked that individual countries proposed contributions should be released no later than in the first quarter of 2015.

This blog believes all countries taking part in COP20 must go to Lima with proposals of what they want to see happen in Paris and what their demands will be. It is our hope that even the poorest nations will commit to goals of their own; without these Western nations won’t want to sign a deal. As outline in our recent interview with Fatima Denton from the United Nations Economic Commision for Africa (UNECA), it is essential that developing countries coordinate themselves and come armed with clear, precise and realistic demands.

In recent years, environmentalists have grown frustrated and dismayed by the various UN climate talks, losing hope that a meaningful global deal will eventually be reached. But recent ambition by the US and China should raise hopes; if negotiations truly begin in Lima this week we may yet all hold out hope for Paris next year.

Related news:

Lima climate talks begin as countries eye building momentum

Canadian journalist recalls his UN climate talks experience

UN says science has spoken on climate change

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