COP20—Lima Climate Conference

Author and Page information

  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Created Saturday, January 24, 2015

On this page:

  1. Introduction
  2. Meeting outcome
  3. Mainstream media reporting
  4. In context: common but differentiated responsibilities
  5. More information
  6. News stories from IPS

Introduction

December 1 – 14, 2014, Lima, Peru was the venue for the 20th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as the 20th Conference of the Parties — or COP 20.

The purpose of this conference was to create a universal agreement on climate change action and begin the process of financing mitigation.

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Meeting outcome

The meeting ended with all nations agreeing to cut back greenhouse gas emissions. Known as the Lima Accord, this treaty is not legally binding and countries do not have to specify how much they will cut back, instead agreeing to report their plans back by March 2015.

While for many it sounded like a successful outcome, others were disappointed, such as poor countries struggling to rebuild from current impacts of climate change who were alarmed at the disappearance of loss and damage commitments from the final text which has been part of the discussion for years.

The global climate movement, 350.org, summarized the disappointments and hopeful aspects of the meeting outcome, noting

  1. The new agreement does not reflect the urgency of the climate crisis
  2. Some good agreements – but no measures to ensure implementation
  3. Least developed and vulnerable nations left out in the cold
  4. Divestment (from fossil fuel reliance) is more important than ever
  5. Global momentum for real solutions is stronger than ever and will keep on going.

In trying to put a positive spin on the overall disappointment they felt, they concluded, In the end, a global climate treaty is just one tool to combat climate change. Real change is going to continue to come from the grassroots. The UN Climate Talks continue to be a place where the world’s countries comes together to debate this crisis and people are putting in enormous efforts to make sure Paris [the next global meeting] won’t be like Copenhagen which was full of disappointments despite big promises.

Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative, was quite scathing of the meeting outcome saying that political expediency won over scientific urgency. She also noted that Developed country governments couldn’t even manage to explain how they will deliver the long-promised US$100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020. In a move that seemingly dismissed the plight of the most vulnerable countries, they completely removed any meaningful language about ‘loss and damage’.

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Mainstream media reporting

As with almost every previous meeting (with occasional exceptions), mainstream media reporting was very poor given the importance of this global issue. Where the meeting was reported it was generally towards the end, and just sound bite type summaries saying all countries agreed to emission cuts and that this was a major improvement.

While the treaty continued to say it honors the long-standing common but differentiated responsibilities the mainstream media reporting (as in most years) has typically failed to provide explanation and context of this principle that has been an important part of these talks for over 2 decades; that poor and developing countries should not bear the same responsibilities as the developed ones (because they are not the cause of the anthropogenic carbon emissions over the previous decades that have led to this, which is detailed much more on this site’s page on climate justice).

A hint towards this principle may have been presented as a viewpoint of China or India, given the impression they are being obstacles, rather then explaining this principle in more context.

That was just one of the issues skirted over or omitted from common reporting. Others included issues on financing, technology support for poorer nations, etc. Behind the scenes, for decades, rich countries have stalled on these things or actively avoided trying to share technology etc, which is barely reported.

Every year, this criticism is made of mainstream reporting, so without following these negotiations each year, it can be easy to come away with the impression that this meeting had a positive outcome.

But as this discussion hosted by Democracy Now! shows, there were a number of important issues of contention:

Emissions-Cutting Deal Reached at COP 20 Lima, But Will It Help Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change?, Democracy Now!, December 15, 2014.

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In context: common but differentiated responsibilities

Many years ago all nations agreed that climate change was largely the result of actions from today’s industrialized nations, as carbon dioxide — the main greenhouse gas — stays in the atmosphere for decades. Yet, the poorest would end up suffering the most for a problem they largely did not cause. The approaches to mitigation (emissions reduction) would therefore be different for those groups of countries — the common but differentiated responsibilities principle.

It is in this context that the discussion for loss and damage has come about. And it is something that rich countries are keen to get rid of .

The years of resistance on this issue (and many others) means each time it is discussed again the reactions seem to get even more hostile. Combined with the lack of detailed context in the mainstream media coverage of this aspect, it then becomes easier each time to see culprits as China and India given their enormous greenhouse emissions in recent years, compared to the far greater amount by the industrialized nations over the longer period. See this site’s section on climate justice for more detailed background.

And as this site has said for years on the climate justice page, the rich nations are delaying any meaningful action until it is eventually — and disproportionately — paid for the by the developing nations. New Delhi based Nitin Sethi, associate editor at Business Standard, interviewed in the earlier mentioned video says the same thing, but more frankly:

There is no action that’s going to happen between now and 2020. All of that was to be done by the developed countries. They [rich nations] basically have just said at Lima that we are not going to do any more than what we’re doing so far, and the burden can shift onto the post-2020 era, where other developing countries have to share it. So, to me, it indicates really negotiation in bad faith.

Nitin Sethi, Emissions-Cutting Deal Reached at COP 20 Lima, But Will It Help Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change?, Democracy Now!, December 15, 2014

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More information

As the conference is still underway as this page is written, more information will be added here after the event is over.

For more about the issues from other organizations, here are some starting points:

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News stories from IPS

Below is a list of stories from Inter Press Service related to the Lima climate conference and its aftermath.

  1. Civil Society Summit Calls for International Action on Climate Migration

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017

    SUVA, Fiji, Dec 12 (IPS) - Civil society leaders from more than 100 countries called for action on climate-induced displacement at a summit in Suva, Fiji last week.

  2. The Climate Effect of the Trump Administration

    Wednesday, December 06, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Dec 06 (IPS) - Over its first year, the Trump administration has taken extreme steps to unravel progress on U.S. climate action domestically. Last month, President Trump's administration reiterated its intention to abandon the Paris Agreement, isolating the United States internationally.

  3. Lobbying & Sponsorships at COP23 Corrupted Climate Talks

    Monday, November 20, 2017

    ABU DHABI, Nov 20 (IPS) - The world's nations got together in Bonn, Germany, for the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties (COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where nearly 200 countries and some 23, 000 delegates met to discuss and influence the negotiations over the rulebook of the Paris Agreement.

  4. Financing Will Continue to be Key Issue in Battling Climate Change

    Friday, November 17, 2017

    BONN, Nov 17 (IPS) - "The Bonn climate talks were foundational, paving the way to finalize the rules that underpin the Paris Agreement next year and setting the stage for countries to commit to enhance their national climate plans by 2020. On both counts, the climate talks in Bonn were a success. However, negotiators have plenty of homework to do to get there.

  5. Climate Change is Already Upon us & Will Only Worsen in Short Term

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    BONN, Nov 15 (IPS) - It is fitting that this year's conference of parties (on climate change, COP 23) is led by Fiji, a nation on the frontlines.

  6. How to Ensure Farming is More Than Just a Footnote in Climate Talks

    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    BONN, Germany, Nov 14 (IPS) - If change comes from within, then climate action in agriculture must logically start with farmers. They need to find ways to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

    But when that involves 800 million of the world's poorest people, they are going to require systematic and dedicated support.

  7. How US Is Taking Climate Action Without Trump

    Monday, November 13, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 13 (IPS) - Even after President Trump announced his intention to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, much of the country is moving forward with climate action anyway. According to new analysismore than 2,500 non-federal actors representing more than half the U.S. economy—including cities, counties, states, businesses and more—have pledged their support for the Paris Agreement goals. If these actors were their own country, they'd be the world's third-largest economy.

  8. Economic Development vs. Climate Action: Rebutting Deniers and Wafflers

    Sunday, November 12, 2017

    SAN FRANCISCO, California, Nov 12 (IPS) - As negotiators meet in Bonn to put together a deal to implement the Paris Agreement, John Holdren, a professor of environmental policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, stressed that economic development and climate change mitigation and adaptation are not ‘either-or' but must be pursued together.

  9. Climate Change Poses Alarming Threat to Food Security in Pacific Islands

    Sunday, November 12, 2017

    ROME, Nov 12 (IPS) - A high-level meeting of political leaders -– hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) -– sounded an ominous warning: that climate change poses an "alarming threat to food systems and food security in the Pacific islands."

  10. Will Policymakers Listen to Climate Change Science This Time Around?

    Wednesday, November 08, 2017

    BREMERHAVEN, Germany, Nov 08 (IPS) - Climate change is altering the ecosystem of our oceans, a big carbon sink and prime source of protein from fish. This is old news.

  11. Pacific Communities Building Resilience in the Face of Climate Change*

    Wednesday, November 08, 2017

    SUVA, Fiji, Nov 08 (IPS) - In the Pacific, climate change is an ever-present threat, undermining human rights, livelihoods, and security. Pacific Islanders are working with courage and resolve to build the resilience of their communities and to catalyse international actions towards ending global carbon pollution.

  12. Conservation Agriculture: Zambia’s Double-edged Sword against Climate Change and Hunger

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017

    PEMBA, Zambia, Nov 07 (IPS) - As governments gather in Bonn, Germany for the next two weeks to hammer out a blueprint for implementation of the global climate change treaty signed in Paris in 2015, a major focus will be on emissions reductions to keep the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C by 2020.

  13. 4 Reasons for Countries to Enhance Climate Commitments by 2020

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 07 (IPS) - The Paris Agreement was widely hailed for drawing all nations together to tackle climate change, based on bottom-up contributions that will be reviewed and strengthened over time. These contributions are aimed at achieving the ambitious but necessary long-term goals of limiting global temperature increase and building resilience to climate impacts.

  14. Climate Change Summit a Step Further, Yes... But Where To?

    Monday, November 06, 2017

    ROME, Nov 06 (IPS) - The UN Climate Change Summit in Bonn is a step further, most experts say. Fine, but towards what?

  15. Got Climate Questions? Climate Watch Has Answers

    Friday, November 03, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 03 (IPS) - Negotiators and stakeholders headed to Bonn, Germany, for next week's UN climate summit continue to confront a range of questions surrounding one essential query: How do we meet the imperative to lower greenhouse gas emissions now — quickly — to minimize the most severe impacts of climate change?

  16. Latin America Heads to Climate Summit with Uneven Progress

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017

    MEXICO CITY, Oct 25 (IPS) - Difficult to measure and unequal in their scope are the advances that the countries of Latin America will have to show, regarding their voluntary commitments to greenhouse gas emissions, during the climate summit to be hosted by Bonn, Germany in November.

  17. Innovation for Climate-Smart Agriculture Key to Ending Hunger in Kenya

    Monday, October 23, 2017

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 (IPS) - Some parts of Kenya are reeling from the effects of probably the worst drought in the last 20 years. With nearly 3.4 million people food insecure, Kenya's food security prognosis looks gloomy, with climate change and natural resource depletion set to pose even greater risks in the long term.

  18. Can Index Insurance Make African Farmers Climate-resilient?

    Friday, October 20, 2017

    ADDIS ABABA, Oct 20 (IPS) - Index insurance is being promoted as a solution to protect climate affected smallholder farmers in Africa. This type of micro insurance is slowly gaining ground as a way of compensating farmers for lost crops and livestock due to climate change.

  19. The IMF and Climate Change: Three Things Christine Lagarde Can Do to Cement Her Legacy on Climate

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Oct 11 (IPS) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and climate change do not often appear in the same headline together. Indeed, environmental issues have been, at most, peripheral to the Fund's core functions. But now economists inside and outside the IMF are beginning to understand that climate change has significant implications for national and regional economies, and so it's worth reconsidering the Fund's role in addressing the climate challenge.

  20. Making an Economic Case for Climate Action

    Monday, October 02, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 02 (IPS) - Having faced a year of record temperatures and devastating hurricanes, the United States stands more to lose if it doesn't take steps to reduce the risk and impact of climate change, according to a new report.

  21. Much more climate finance now!

    Tuesday, September 12, 2017

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 12 (IPS) - Funding developing countries' climate change mitigation and adaption efforts was never going to be easy. But it has become more uncertain with President Trump's decision to leave the Paris Accord. As a candidate, he threatened not to fulfil the modest US pledge of US$3 billion towards the 2020 target of US$100 billion yearly for the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

  22. Floods, Hurricanes, Droughts... When Climate Sets the Agenda

    Monday, September 11, 2017

    ROME, Sep 11 (IPS) - When officials and experts from all over the world started the first-ever environmental summit hosted by China, they were already aware that climate and weather-related disasters were already seriously beginning to set the international agenda – unprecedented floods in South Asia, strongest ever hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and catastrophic droughts striking the Horn of Africa, among the most impacting recent events.

  23. Climate-Smart Agriculture Urgently Needed in Africa

    Monday, September 04, 2017

    ROME, Sep 04 (IPS) - Africa contributes only 4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while six of the 10 most affected countries by climate change are in Africa, warns a major agricultural research for development partnership, while stressing the urgent need to scale up climate-smart agriculture, improve forestry and transform the productivity of water use.

  24. Climate Smart Crops: A Necessity for Future Food & Nutrition Security

    Thursday, August 31, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Aug 31 (IPS) - Climate change is taking a severe toll on farmers, as they watch their livelihoods disappear with the onslaught of floods, droughts and rising sea levels and temperatures. With agriculture currently employing over 1.3 billion people throughout the world, or close to 40 percent of the global workforce, it is imperative that we incorporate climate resilience into all aspects of crop breeding and food innovation.

  25. St. Lucia’s PM on Climate Change: “Time Is Against Us”

    Monday, August 28, 2017

    CASTRIES, St Lucia, Aug 28 (IPS) - A Caribbean Community (CARICOM) prime minister has reiterated the call for developed countries to assist Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their quest to combat the effects of climate change.

  26. Climate Migrants Might Reach One Billion by 2050

    Monday, August 21, 2017

    ROME, Aug 21 (IPS) - Imagine a world with as many as one billion people facing harsh climate change impacts resulting in devastating droughts and/or floods, extreme weather, destruction of natural resources, in particular lands, soils and water, and the consequence of severe livelihoods conditions, famine and starvation.

  27. What Does “Climate-Smart Agriculture” Really Mean? New Tool Breaks It Down

    Monday, August 14, 2017

    PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 14 (IPS) - A Trinidadian scientist has developed a mechanism for determining the degree of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) compliance with respect to projects, processes and products.

  28. New Tool Separates Wheat from Chaff for Climate-Smart Ag Finance

    Monday, August 14, 2017

    PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 14 (IPS) - Climate-smart agriculture seeks to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand. 

  29. Climate Scientists Use Forecasting Tools to Protect Caribbean Ways of Life

    Monday, August 07, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 07 (IPS) - Since 2013, Jamaica's Met Office has been using its Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) to forecast ‘below average' rainfall or drought across the island. The tool has allowed this northern Caribbean island to accurately predict several dry periods and droughts, including its most destructive episode in 2014 when an estimated one billion dollars in agricultural losses were incurred due to crop failures and wild fires caused by the exceptionally dry conditions.

  30. Climate Change-Poverty-Migration: The New, Inhuman ‘Bermuda Triangle’

    Friday, July 07, 2017

    ROME, Jul 07 (IPS) - World organisations, experts and scientists have been repeating it to satiety: climate change poses a major risk to the poorest rural populations in developing countries, dangerously threatening their lives and livelihoods and thus forcing them to migrate.

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Where next?

Related articles

  1. Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction
  2. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  3. Reactions to Climate Change Negotiations and Action
  4. Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction
  5. Global Warming, Spin and Media
  6. Climate Justice and Equity
  7. Climate Change Flexibility Mechanisms
  8. Carbon Sinks, Forests and Climate Change
  9. Climate Change Affects Biodiversity
  10. Global Warming and Population

Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created: Saturday, January 24, 2015

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