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.

Back to top

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’.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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

Back to top

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:

Back to top

News stories from IPS

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

  1. World’s Hard Fought Battle Against Climate Change

    Monday, September 23, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 23 (IPS) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describes the ongoing crisis as a "climate emergency"-- as the world continues its hard fought battle against devastating droughts, floods, hurricanes and rising sea levels that threaten the very existence of small island developing states located in low-lying areas.

  2. Confronting the New Climate Reality in Asia and the Pacific

    Monday, September 23, 2019

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Sep 23 (IPS) - In less than ten days world leaders will be gathering at the United Nations in New York for the Climate Action Summit. Their goal is simple; to increase ambition and accelerate action in the face of a mounting climate emergency.

    For many this means ambition and action that enables countries to decarbonize their economies by the middle of the century. But that is only half the equation. Equally ambitious plans are also needed to build the resilience of vulnerable sectors and communities being battered by climate related disasters of increasing frequency, intensity and unpredictability.

  3. A Brief Guide to the Impacts of Climate Change on Food Production

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    Sep 20 (IPS) - Food may be a universal language – but in these record-breaking hot days, so too is climate change. With July clocking in as the hottest month on Earth in recorded history and extreme weather ramping up globally, farmers are facing the brunt of climate change in croplands and pastures around the world.

  4. 'I Want my Kids to Know What a Rhino and Turtle Are' - #ClimateStrike Kids Say

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Sep 20 (IPS) - IPS Correspondent Crystal Oderson took to the streets in Cape Town, South Africa and chatted to children about the #ClimateStrike.From Nigeria, to Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo, to South Africa, thousands of African climate campaigners have taken to the streets joining millions globally for the global Climate Strike ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, which starts in New York next week.

  5. Rural Bangladesh Families Spend 2.0 Billion Dollars on Climate Change ― Dwarfing Government & International Finance

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    LONDON, Sep 20 (IPS) - In an alarming imbalance struggling families in rural Bangladesh spend almost US$2 billion a year on preventing climate-related disasters or repairing damage caused by climate change ― far more than either the Bangladesh government or international bodies.

  6. As Climate Crisis Worsens & Poverty Rises, UN Appears Off-Track on Development Agenda

    Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 18 (IPS) - The two key goals in the UN's development agenda are the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

    But most of the world's developing nations, currently fighting a losing battle against rising poverty and hunger –and suffering from the devastating impact of climate change-- are likely to miss the deadline for most of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the latest report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

  7. Let’s Get Climate Action into Traction with Gender Equality

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 11 (IPS) - Climate change is already altering the face of our planet. Research shows that we need to put all our efforts over the coming decade to limit warming to 1.5°C and mitigate the catastrophic risks posed by increased droughts, floods, and extreme weather events.

  8. Let’s Walk the Talk to Defeat Climate Change – African Leaders Told

    Wednesday, August 28, 2019

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Aug 28 (IPS) - African leaders have been asked to walk the talk, and lead from the front, in order to build resilience and adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change on the continent.

  9. Solving the Climate Crisis is Beyond Governments

    Tuesday, August 20, 2019

    PANAMA CITY, Aug 20 (IPS) - Throughout my ten years working in international development and climate policy, I've mostly heard colleagues talk about the private sector as if it was this intangible, multifaceted medusa with its own business lingo that is impossible for us policy experts to tackle: "the ‘private sector' needs a return on investment in order to act on climate" or "the ‘private sector' does not have the right incentives, but we need ‘private' capital to solve this crisis"

  10. Forests, Food & Farming Next Frontier in Climate Emergency

    Friday, August 16, 2019

    TORONTO, Canada, Aug 16 (IPS) - The special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  on climate and land, launched last week, makes it clear that without drastic changes in land use, agriculture and human diets, we will fall significantly short of targets to hold global temperature rise below 1.5°C. 

  11. Women Pastoralists Feel Heat of Climate Change

    Wednesday, August 14, 2019

    NAIROBI, Aug 14 (IPS) - For many people, climate change is about shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, longer and more intense heatwaves, and other extreme and unpredictable weather patterns.  But for women pastoralists—livestock farmers in the semi-arid lands of Kenya—climate change has forced drastic changes to everyday life, including long and sometimes treacherous journeys to get water.

  12. Extreme Floods, the Key to Climate Change Adaptation in Africa’s Drylands

    Thursday, August 08, 2019

    TURKANA COUNTY, Kenya, Aug 08 (IPS) - Extreme rainfall and heavy flooding, often amplified by climate change, causes devastation among communities. But new research published on Aug. 7 in the scientific journal Nature reveals that these dangerous events are extremely significant in recharging groundwater aquifers in drylands across sub-Saharan Africa, making them important for climate change adaptation.

  13. Want to Inspire More People to Act on Climate Change? Broaden the Framing

    Tuesday, July 16, 2019

    ILLINOIS, United States, Jul 16 (IPS) - "It has never happened before," is a sentence that is becoming excessively common in the news  due to a changing climate where new extremes are becoming normal.

  14. Rwanda Prepares the Foundations for Climate-Resilient Cities

    Monday, July 15, 2019

    KIGALI, Jul 15 (IPS) - How do you plan a resilient city? A city that can withstand climate change impacts, and the natural disasters that it produces at increased frequencies. And how do you protect the city, its individuals and communities, its business and institutions from either the increased flooding or prolonged droughts that result? It's a complex question with an even more complex solution, but one that the central African nation of Rwanda is looking to answer.

  15. Climate Change Deniers Violate Human Rights

    Monday, July 08, 2019

    AMSTERDAM, Jul 08 (IPS) - Eco Matser is Hivos global Climate Change / Energy and Development Coordinator.

    Whoever still thinks climate change is purely an environmental issue, threatening only nature, needs to think again. Climate change is also essentially a human issue because of its devastating effect on human life – and rights. It exacerbates existing inequalities, undermines democracy and threatens development at large. Likewise, by far the greatest burden will fall on those already in poverty, while the rich will be able to buy their way out of rising heat and hunger.

  16. We Cannot Save the World from Climate Catastrophe if Largest Emitters of CO2 Don’t Step up Now

    Thursday, June 27, 2019

    SUVA, Fiji, Jun 27 (IPS) - Frank Bainimarama is Prime Minister of FijiSUVA, Fiji, 27 June 2019 (IPS) -- Are the most climate-vulnerable nations of the world right to demand that developed and major economies commit to carbon neutrality by 2050?

    Should the poorest nations of the world insist that the "haves" put their significant economic and political resources behind aggressive efforts to combat climate change?

  17. Looking to the Land in the Climate Change Race

    Wednesday, June 26, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 26 (IPS) - The international community still has a long way to go to chart a new, sustainable course for humanity. But the upcoming climate change meetings provide a renewed opportunity to tackle climate change head on.

  18. Uganda’s Rare Tree Climbing Lions and Endangered Primates Threatened By Climate Change

    Wednesday, June 12, 2019

    KASESE, Uganda, Jun 12 (IPS) - As climate change leads to increased temperatures in East Africa, a thicket of invasive thorny trees with the ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions have begun threatening Uganda's second-largest park, home to a rare breed of tree climbing lions and one of the highest concentrations of primates in the world.

  19. Ecuador in Frontline to Address Climate Change

    Wednesday, June 05, 2019

    QUITO, Ecuador, Jun 05 (IPS) - Matilde Mordt is UNDP Resident Representative in Ecuador

    As the UN commemorates World Environment Day, UNDP would like to take this opportunity to commend Ecuador's efforts to address climate change and its commitment to raising its climate ambition.

  20. Mobilisation Needed for Climate-Related Disasters

    Wednesday, June 05, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 05 (IPS) - Climate-related displacement and food insecurity is not a future possibility, but it is already happening and it's only projected to worsen without urgent action in coming years.

  21. 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'.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

Back to top

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

Back to top