September 18, 2014
After a tense two weeks of talks, the latest UN climate summit has concluded. Individual countries have agreed to make their submissions on reducing climate emissions in the lead-up to a crunch climate summit in Paris, where the UN hopes countries will agree meaningful cuts to emissions.
However, there are fears that the lack of oversight on the plans submitted by countries – mainly because of objections from big developing countries such as China – could store up trouble next year after talks resume again in Geneva next February. By putting off hard choices, including which countries should take on the burden of emissions cuts, negotiators have increased the size of the task that will be required to deliver a deal that helps the world avoid runaway climate change.
Below, we round-up the reaction so far to the Lima Accord.
Jennifer Morgan, World Resources Institute: “If a country doesn’t submit a plan, there will be no punishment, no fine, no black UN helicopters showing up…It relies on a lot of peer pressure.”
Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment: “The Lima agreement will further erode the differentiation between developed and the developing countries. The burden of tackling climate change will decisively shift to developing countries making their efforts towards poverty reduction and sustainable development difficult and expensive.”
Meena Raman, Third World Network Malaysia: “This outcome took a long drawn out fight and the end result is still so far from what people need. This bodes badly for what is possible out of Paris given the sheer lack of responsibility that the rich developed countries are prepared to take.”
Samantha Smith, WWF: “The science is clear that delaying action until 2020 will make it near impossible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, yet political expediency won over scientific urgency. Instead of leadership, they delivered a lacklustre plan with little scientific relevance.”
Jake Schmidt, NRDC: “Here’s the good news from the Lima talks: Countries around the world now fully understand that early next year they must commit to ambitious reductions in climate pollution and bold measures to slow global warming.”
Harjeet Singh, Lead on Resilience and Climate at ActionAid: “This outcome provides nothing meaningful on finance, loss and damage, and pre-2020 action. Any country that has the interests of its people at heart should have rejected this proposal. We see weak and unjust climate targets from rich industrialised targets and the result of those will be unimaginable devastation from climate impacts.”
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of the Environment of Peru and the COP President: “Governments have left with a far clearer vision of what the draft Paris agreement will look like as we head into 2015 and the next round of negotiations in Geneva.”
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC): “The negotiations here reached a new level of realism and understanding about what needs to be done now, over the next 12 months and into the years and decades to come if climate change is to be truly and decisively addressed.”
Xie Zhenhua, head of Chinese delegation: “The talks next year will be more practical and also more challenging… We hope that this decision can truly reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities upon implementation and all elements in addressing climate change.”
Todd Stern, the US State Department’s climate change envoy: “It was contentious along the way but it fundamentally accomplished what we wanted it to.”
Prakash Javadekar, India’s environment minister: “We got what we wanted.”
Miguel Canete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy: “Although the EU wanted a more ambitious outcome from Lima, we believe that we are on track to agree a global deal in Paris next year.”
Robert Stavins, Kennedy School: “The substitution of the phrase “may include” for “shall include” in regard to the elements of the INDCs was one of the compromises that was necessary to gain the approval of developing countries. So, the U.S.-favoured requirement for the use of transparent elements in INDCs that would facilitate comparisons among countries was dropped.”
Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics: “There are still significant stumbling blocks on the road to success. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that governments are unlikely to outline cuts in annual emissions that will be collectively consistent with a path that gives a good chance of remaining below the 2C danger limit of two degrees.”Multilateral Institutions:
Rachel Kyte, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change: “Everybody measuring in the same way is very important…It’s the only way you’re going to build trust in the process, and it’s the only way you’re going to really have any faith in any numbers.”
The Economist, UK: “While much less than climate activists wanted, it is enough to keep hopes alive that the world will agree a new climate treaty at the next summit in Paris in a year’s time. But the haggling in Lima shows just how difficult that will be.”People’s Daily, China: “Climate change is about the well being and future of all of humanity. Every country has to make its inevitable commitment. The whole world is waiting for the global governance of climate change to take a brave and decisive step towards profound change. For a better future, both developed countries and developing countries must fulfil their duties.”Le Monde, France: “France, which will take on the chairmanship of negotiations in January, did well. But the weakness of the adopted texts complicates its task.”La Republica, Peru: “The document can be appreciated as a glass half-full or half-empty. It just depends on the quality of the glass through your looking through.”