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. 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.

  2. 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. 

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Funding Climate Resilience Benefits All Nations – Yes, the U.S. Too

    Tuesday, July 04, 2017

    KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jul 04 (IPS) - A leading climate change mitigation and adaptation activist and former climate negotiator in the Caribbean says that the United States could protect its economic and political interest by helping the region to go green.

  6. Insurance: A Valuable Incentive for Small Farmers’ Climate Resilience

    Thursday, June 29, 2017

    PEMBA, Zambia, Jun 29 (IPS) - Frequent extreme weather and climate shifts pose a challenge to already vulnerable groups such as smallholder farmers in the developing world. Between 2004 and 2014, farmers are said to have endured the brunt of the 100-billion-dollar cost of climate-related disasters.

  7. Anyway to Help Slow Down Climate Change, Individually? Yes We Can!

    Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    ROME, Jun 27 (IPS) - It is no secret that the biggest responsible for climate change is greed. The greed of the world's largest private corporations, which blindly seek unlimited high financial benefits. And the greed of those politicians who are also blindly keen about holding their temporary power at any cost, thus not daring to challenge big business. Ordinary people can meanwhile help slow down such a hellish race.

  8. Europe Stands by Caribbean on Climate Funding

    Monday, June 26, 2017

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 26 (IPS) - A senior European Union (EU) official in the Caribbean said Europe is ready to continue the global leadership on the fight against climate change, including helping the poor and vulnerable countries in the region.

  9. IFAD’s President Houngbo Calls for Investment in Climate Smart Agriculture for Poverty-Free Future

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 16 (IPS) - Implementing climate-smart agriculture is critical to reduce hunger and poverty, according to International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) new president Gilbert Houngbo.

  10. Mixed Reactions to U.S. Withdrawal from Climate Deal

    Thursday, June 01, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 01 (IPS) - The United States is expected to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement, prompting mixed reactions from civil society and political representatives.

  11. Community Seed Banks: Securing Diversity for Climate Change Adaptation

    Tuesday, May 23, 2017

    ROME, May 23 (IPS) - For thousands of years, farmers have used genetic diversity to cope with weather variability and changing climate conditions. They have stored, planted, selected and improved seeds to continue producing food in a dynamic environment.

  12. Mapping and Responding to Climate-Induced Migration

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, May 18 (IPS) - As the world focuses on conflict-related migration and displacement, with an unprecedented 60 million fleeing from war and persecution, others are pointing to a less discussed trigger of population movements: climate change.

  13. Climate Change Has Changed the Geography of Honduras’ Caribbean Coast

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    BALFATE, Honduras, May 16 (IPS) - In Balfate, a rural municipality that includes fishing villages and small farms along Honduras' Caribbean coast, the effects of climate change are already felt on its famous scenery and beaches. The sea is relentlessly approaching the houses, while the ecosystem is deteriorating.

  14. Global Climate Policy in an Uncertain State of Flux

    Monday, May 08, 2017

    PENANG, Malaysia, May 08 (IPS) - Global climate change policy is in a state of flux, with all other countries waiting for the United States to decide whether to leave or remain in the Paris Agreement.

  15. Caribbean Rolls Out Plans to Reduce Climate Change Hazards

    Sunday, April 30, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 30 (IPS) - Climate change remains inextricably linked to the challenges of disaster risk reduction (DRR). And according to the head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Robert Glasser, the reduction of greenhouse gases is "the single most urgent global disaster risk treatment".

  16. Caribbean Scientists Work to Limit Climate Impact on Marine Environment

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 28 (IPS) - Caribbean scientists say fishermen are already seeing the effects of climate change, so for a dozen or so years they've been designing systems and strategies to reduce the impacts on the industry.

  17. Climate-Smart Agriculture – From Tanzania to Vietnam

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    ROME, Apr 28 (IPS) - As part of efforts to move towards "climate-smart" agriculture, several countries have shared In a meeting in Rome new experiences on how to produce food in ways that help farmers cope with the impacts of climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.

  18. New Generation Rallies to Climate Cause in Trinidad

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    PORT OF SPAIN, Apr 26 (IPS) - As two environmental activist groups in Trinidad and Tobago powered by young volunteers prepare to ramp up their climate change and sustainability activism, they are also contemplating their own sustainability and how they can become viable over the long-term.

  19. Nicaragua’s South Caribbean Coast Improves Readiness for Climate Change

    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    BLUEFIELDS, Nicaragua, Apr 22 (IPS) - The effects of climate change have hit Nicaragua's Caribbean coastal regions hard in the last decade and have forced the authorities and local residents to take protection and adaptation measures to address the phenomenon that has gradually undermined their safety and changed their way of life.

  20. Disease Burden Growing as Vector Insects Adapt to Climate Change

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 18 (IPS) - There were surprised gasps when University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor John Agard told journalists at an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in late November 2016 that mosquitoes were not only living longer, but were "breeding in septic tanks underground".

  21. Climate Funds for World's Poorest Slow to Materialise

    Friday, April 14, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 14 (IPS) - Climate change is making poor countries poorer, yet funding meant to address its economic consequences has been slow to materialise. Instead funding bodies are choosing to invest in green energy projects in middle-income countries.

  22. Climate Change Solutions Can’t Wait for U.S. Leadership

    Tuesday, April 04, 2017

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Apr 04 (IPS) - From tourism-dependent nations like Barbados to those rich with natural resources like Guyana, climate change poses one of the biggest challenges for the countries of the Caribbean.

  23. A Carbon Law to Protect the Climate

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 24 (IPS) - The Carbon Law says human carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced by half each decade starting in 2020. By following this "law" humanity can achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century to protect the global climate for current and future generations.

  24. Climate Breaks All Records: Hottest Year, Lowest Ice, Highest Sea Level

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    ROME, Mar 22 (IPS) - Climate has, once more, broken all records, with the year 2016 making history-highest-ever global temperature, exceptionally low sea ice, unabated sea level rise and ocean heat. And what is even worse-- extreme and unusual trends continue in 2017.

  25. Caribbean Stakes Future on Climate-Smart Agriculture

    Thursday, March 16, 2017

    GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 16 (IPS) - As Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries continue to build on the momentum of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech in 2016, special emphasis is being placed on agriculture as outlined in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

  26. SPARKS Plugs Gap in Caribbean Climate Research

    Saturday, March 11, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 11 (IPS) - On Nov. 30 last year, a new high-performance ‘Super Computer' was installed at the University of the West Indies (UWI) during climate change week. Dubbed SPARKS - short for the Scientific Platform for Applied Research and Knowledge Sharing - the computer is already churning out the ‘big data' Caribbean small island states (SIDS) need to accurately forecast and mitigate the effects of climate change on the region.

  27. Caribbean Awaits Trump Moves on Climate Funding, Paris Deal

    Sunday, March 05, 2017

    KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Mar 05 (IPS) - Caribbean leaders worry that with climate change sceptic Donald Trump in the White House, it will be more difficult for small island developing states facing the brunt of climate change to secure the financing necessary to adapt to and mitigate against it.

  28. Netherlands to Host Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    ROME, Feb 23 (IPS) - The Netherlands announced that it will work with Japan and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to establish a Global Centre of Excellence to help countries, institutions and businesses to adapt to a warming climate, which is increasing the frequency of natural disasters and causing economic disruptions.

  29. Farmer Field Schools Help Women Lead on Climate Change

    Friday, January 27, 2017

    KAMPALA, Uganda, Jan 27 (IPS) - Discussions around climate change have largely ignored how men and women are affected by climate change differently, instead choosing to highlight the extreme and unpredictable weather patterns or decreases in agricultural productivity.

  30. Learning Alliances Help Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices Take Root

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017

    IBADAN, Nigeria, Jan 24 (IPS) - Development advocates and professionals are very keen on harnessing the power of agriculture to promote the cause of climate change these days. And rightly so, because agriculture is both a major emitter of greenhouse gases and so a potential force for mitigation, and because billions of people will need to eat, and so adaptation is an absolute necessity.

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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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