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. Global Hunger Is Threatening Families Because of Climate Change

    Wednesday, May 15, 2019

    NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 (IPS) - Siddharth Chatterjee is the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Kenya.

    There is barely a corner of human life that will not be affected by climate change, and some of its impacts are already being felt. Consider this, 821 million people are now hungry and over 150 million children stunted, putting the hunger eradication goal, SDG 2, at risk.

    Today 15 May, is the United Nations International Day of Families and the theme for this year is, ‘Families and Climate Action'.

  2. Why Climate Action Plans are not Good Enough to Deliver a Low-Carbon Future in Cities

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    DUBAI, Apr 23 (IPS) - Karishma Asarpot* is an urban planner, blogger and researcher who holds a Master of Science degree in Urbanism from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

    Though climate policies aim to reduce GHG emissions, they miss out on emphasizing the importance of urban planning policies

    Cities that have ratified the Paris Agreement and pledged to reduce carbon emissions are adopting climate action plans aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

  3. Pakistan’s Battle Against Climate Change

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    ISLAMABAD, Apr 17 (IPS) - Pakistan, which has been listed as the 7th most vulnerable country affected by climate change, is now seriously tackling the vagaries of weather, both at the official as well as non-official level.

    Pursuant to an initiative launched by the Pakistan Parliament's Upper House, the Senate, which specially entrusted a sub-Committee of the Standing Committee on Climate Change to focus on "Green and Clean" Islamabad, media, civil society and students have taken up the cudgels on combating climate change.

  4. Anguilla's Fishers Share their First-Hand Knowledge About Climate Change and its Impact

    Thursday, March 28, 2019

    PORT-OF-SPAIN, Mar 28 (IPS) - Fishers in Anguilla saw posted on Youtube this week a video they helped produce that depicts the impacts of climate change on their industry. Titled "Anguilla's Fishing Dilemma", the four-and-a-half minute video highlights some of the main challenges Anguilla's 92 licensed fishers face in earning a living.

  5. Climate Change: a Threat to Agriculture Undermining UN’s Goal to Eradicate Hunger

    Tuesday, March 19, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Mar 19 (IPS) - The United Nations has vowed to eradicate extreme hunger and malnutrition on a self-imposed deadline of 2030.

    But it is facing a harsh realty where human-induced climate change – including flash floods, droughts, heatwaves, typhoons and landslides-- is increasingly threatening agriculture, which also provides livelihoods for over 40 per cent of the global population.

  6. Q&A: Caribbean Losing Momentum on Climate Change and Concerted Action is Needed

    Monday, March 18, 2019

    CASTRIES, Mar 18 (IPS) - In 2015, the Caribbean was "the region that could" on the climate change scene. Countries rallied under the ‘1.5 to Stay Alive' banner, in the face of an existential threat. The now former Sustainable Development Minister of Saint Lucia Dr. James Fletcher emerged as a climate change champion at the time. But now, three years on, the scientist is giving regional climate action a C- in an assessment.

  7. Climate Strike: Hundreds of Thousands United for the Planet’s Future

    Saturday, March 16, 2019

    ROME, Mar 16 (IPS) - Friday, Mar. 15, hundreds of thousands of young people across the world took to the streets to join the climate strike. "We are demonstrating today for our planet and for our future. This is the place where we and those who come after us will live," Jennifer, a 16-year-old girl from Rome, the Italian capital, was one of those who opted to join the protests rather than attend school, told IPS.

  8. Women Take the Lead Tackling Climate Change in Bangladesh

    Friday, March 15, 2019

    LONDON / DHAKA, Mar 15 (IPS) - Jonathan Farr is WaterAid's Senior Policy Analyst on water security & climate change, based in London & Samia Mallik is WaterAid Bangladesh's Communications Officer, based in Dhaka.

    The stakes are high for women when faced with a warming world – their livelihoods jeopardised by labour markets that tend to put men first, their family responsibilities increasing rapidly in the face of droughts and flooding, and politicians who refuse to acknowledge the challenges they face. The story of those living on the frontline of a harsher climate is simply not being heard.

  9. Helping St. Vincent’s Fishers Maintain an Essential Industry in a Changing Climate

    Thursday, March 14, 2019

    KINGSTOWN, Mar 14 (IPS) - From an influx of sargassum in near-shore waters, to fish venturing further out to sea to find cooler, more oxygenated water, fishers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are battling the vagaries of climate change. The country is doing what it can to respond.

  10. Industrial Jobs in Danger When the Climate is to be Saved

    Tuesday, March 05, 2019

    STOCKHOLM, Mar 05 (IPS) - The trade unions' solution for a greener world is new jobs with good working conditions. The critics argue that there's not enough time. "We can either protect industrial jobs in the global north or save the climate", says political scientist Tadzio Müller.

  11. Living with Leprosy on the Climate-Vulnerable Kiribati Island Atolls

    Monday, March 04, 2019

    MANILA, Mar 04 (IPS) - Kurarenga Kaitire lives in Kiribati—one of the world's most climate-vulnerable nations. Already vulnerable to nature, the 29-year-old mother of five has faced a series of vulnerabilities over the past decade, including facing social stigma and domestic abuse.

  12. Accelerating the Caribbean's Climate Resilience

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    PORT-OF-SPAIN, Feb 26 (IPS) - The Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator launched last year June with the backing of Virgin's Richard Branson has given itself five years to help the region become climate resilient.

  13. Does Climate Change Offer New Opportunities for Agriculture in Argentina?

    Monday, February 25, 2019

    BUENOS AIRES, Feb 25 (IPS) - Climate change poses a global threat to food production, but for agriculture in Argentina it could also present new opportunities. In some areas of the country, farming conditions will improve, according to an analysis by experts of the latest climate projections.

  14. Q&A: Jamaica Pushes Climate Smart Policies to Secure the Future of its Food Supply

    Monday, February 18, 2019

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Feb 18 (IPS) - The island state of Jamaica is vulnerable to climate change which has in turn threatened both its economy and food production. But the Caribbean nation is taking the threat seriously and it has constructed a robust policy framework to support national climate action, particularly when it comes to promoting climate-smart agriculture (CSA).

  15. Q&A: We Are Helping the World Mitigate Climate Change, Now it’s Time to Help Us

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    The Caribbean nation of Suriname may be one of the most forested countries in the world, with some 93 percent of the country's surface area being covered in forests, but it is also the most threatened as it struggles with the impacts of climate change.

  16. Our Forests Provide the World With Oxygen But we Need More Climate Change Finance - HFLD Countries

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    PARAMARIBO, Feb 13 (IPS) - Suriname, the most forested country in the world, is this week hosting a major international conference on climate financing for High Forest Cover and Low Deforestation (HFLD) countries.

  17. Q&A: Continuous Struggle for the Caribbean to be Heard in Climate Change Discussions

    Tuesday, February 05, 2019

    GEORGETOWN, Feb 05 (IPS) - IPS correspondent Desmond Brown interviews DOUGLAS SLATER, Assistant Secretary General at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.

    In recent years Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have experienced escalated climate change impacts from hurricanes, tropical storms and other weather-related events thanks to global warming of 1.0 ° Celsius (C) above pre-industrial levels. And it has had adverse effects on particularly vulnerable countries and communities.

  18. Desertification, Land Degradation and Climate Change Go Hand in Hand

    Monday, January 28, 2019

    GEORGETOWN, Jan 28 (IPS) - The link between desertification, land degradation and climate change is among several issues occupying the attention of the 197 Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for the next three days.

  19. Sum & Substance of Climate Diplomacy

    Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    NEW DELHI, Jan 23 (IPS) - As I was attending the 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—to create a rulebook to operationalise the Paris Agreement—in Katowice, Poland, it dawned on me, like never before, that the negotiations were taking place in a make-believe world.

  20. Davos, Inequality & the Climate Emergency

    Friday, January 18, 2019

    BERLIN, Jan 18 (IPS) - Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International and is on the steering committee of the global Fight Inequality alliance.

    Four of the top five most impactful threats in this year's World Economic Forum´s Global Risks report are related to climate change. The report warns that we are "sleepwalking to disaster" . But that is not true.

    The disaster is already here, it´s not something we are still walking towards. Climate change is no future threat, it´s a current one. We have entered a new phase, one in which the impacts are coming faster, with greater intensity.

  21. Climate Change Threatens Mexico's Atlantic Coast

    Thursday, January 17, 2019

    FELIPE CARRILLO PUERTO, Mexico, Jan 17 (IPS) - "I couldn't plant my cornfield in May, because it rained too early. I lost everything," lamented Marcos Canté, an indigenous farmer, as he recounted the ravages that climate change is wreaking on this municipality on Mexico's Caribbean coast.

  22. Q&A: 'There's a Lot More Climate Finance Available than People Think'

    Friday, January 11, 2019

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Jan 11 (IPS) - IPS Correspondent Yazeed Kamaldien speaks to DR. FRANK RIJSBERMAN, director-general of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) about accessing finance for climate mitigation.

    While growth in the green economy looks promising, government regulation and a business-as-usual approach are among the hurdles inhibiting cleaner energy production.

  23. Climate Change: Complex Challenges for Agriculture

    Tuesday, January 08, 2019

    ZURICH, Switzerland, Jan 08 (IPS) - Peter Lüthi is in Communications at the Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, Zurich.

    The unusually hot summer of 2018 showed that climate change affects a central part of our lives: agriculture. The severe drought in Liechtenstein led to large losses in the hay harvest.

  24. As Climate Change Pummels Agriculture, Irrigation Offers the Best Protection

    Wednesday, December 19, 2018

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Dec 19 (IPS) - The changing climate and extreme weather events are affecting agricultural productivity in Africa to such an extent that a panel of experts are urging governments to prioritise and invest in irrigation to ensure food security.

  25. African Media Poorly Represented at the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    KATOWICE, Poland, Dec 14 (IPS) - As negotiations at the United Nations conference on climate change come to a close, the highest expectation is that finally, there will be a rulebook to guide countries on what should be done to slow down greenhouse gas emissions that make the earth warmer than necessary, and how countries can adapt to the impacts of climate change.

  26. Decoding Article 6 of the COP 24 Climate Negotiations

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    Dec 14 (IPS) - It is close to curtain call for the United Nations' Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, with ministers from around the world negotiating the text for a "rulebook" to implement the historic 2015 Paris Agreement for climate action. Amidst the various issues being debated, one of the most technical and complicated is Article 6 of the agreement, which focuses on the country plans for climate action.

  27. New Science Shows Climate-Smart Farming is Within Reach

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    KATOWICE, Poland, Dec 12 (IPS) - Godefroy Grosjean is Asia Climate Policy Hub Leader, International Center for Tropical AgricultureUntil the United Nations climate talks in Bonn last year, no clear plan to include agriculture in climate negotiations existed.

    This was troubling, considering agriculture contributes 19-29% of global greenhouse gases, and changing temperatures are making it harder to farm. This is having an increasingly prominent effect on food security -- hunger levels have now risen for the third year in a row.

  28. Time to Follow EU’s Lead & Step Up Climate Action with 2050 Plans

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    NEW YORK, Dec 12 (IPS) - Manish Bapna is Executive Vice President and Managing Director at the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Stephen Gold is the Global Lead, Climate Change, at UN Development Programme (UNDP)

    As climate negotiators, experts and activists are gathering in Katowice, Poland, for the international climate talks, much of the focus will be on immediate issues. Laying down the ground rules of the 2015 Paris Agreement and wrapping up the first global review of countries' progress to date are high on the agenda.

  29. African Countries Deserve an Enhanced Climate Ambition

    Tuesday, December 04, 2018

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 04 (IPS) - Robert Muthami is a Programme Coordinator at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Kenya Office. He coordinates work around socio-ecological transformation.

    African countries have been at the climate-change negotiating table for more than 20 years. The continent faces some of the most severe impacts of climate change, but questions remain over its adaptive capacity despite this engagement.

  30. Climate Action Should be a Global Priority for World Leaders

    Tuesday, December 04, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Dec 04 (IPS) - Patricia Espinosa was appointed Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2016, a year after the adoption of the Paris Agreement to intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. Prior to that, she was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.The IPCC report says that it is not impossible to limit climate change to 1.5͒C? Do you think we can realistically achieve that? Politically, what needs to happen?

    History shows that when the human race decides to pursue a challenging goal, we can achieve great things. From ridding the world of smallpox to prohibiting slavery and other ancient abuses through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have proven that by joining together we can create a better world.

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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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