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. Indigenous Peoples Least Responsible for the Climate Crisis

    Thursday, August 09, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Aug 09 (IPS) - This article is part of a series of stories and op-eds initiated by IPS on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, on August 9.Indigenous peoples, who comprise less than five percent of the world's population, have the world's smallest carbon footprint, and are the least responsible for our climate crisis. Yet because their livelihoods and wellbeing are intimately bound with intact ecosystems, indigenous peoples disproportionately face the brunt of climate changewhich is fast becoming a leading driver of human displacement.

  2. Why the Flooding in Grenada is a Clear Reminder of its Vulnerability to Climate Change

    Wednesday, August 08, 2018

    ST GEORGE’S, Aug 08 (IPS) - Grenada is still tallying the damage after heavy rainfall last week resulted in "wide and extensive" flooding that once again highlights the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to climate change.

  3. Ocean Conservation Is an Untapped Strategy for Fighting Climate Change

    Friday, July 06, 2018

    WASHINGTON DC, Jul 06 (IPS) - Eliza Northrop is an Associate in the International Climate Action Initiative at World Resources Institute. The ocean contributes $1.5 trillion annually to the global economy and assures the livelihood of 10-12 percent of the world's population. But there's another reason to protect marine ecosystems—they're crucial for curbing climate change.

  4. War, High Tariffs and Nationalisation - their Cost to Africa’s Climate

    Thursday, July 05, 2018

    KINSHASA, Jul 05 (IPS) - Africa's political instability, its armed conflicts and regulatory issues are placing at risk investment needed to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the continent.

  5. World Wakes up to Climate Migration

    Monday, June 11, 2018

    NEW DELHI, Jun 11 (IPS) - Harjeet Singh is Global Lead on Climate Change at ActionAid International and is based in New Delhi*   Millions of people worldwide are being displaced by natural disasters triggered partially by climate change, and the international community is finally taking steps to mitigate the sufferingThis year is set to be an important milestone in the arduous journey of climate migrants. The global community is now beginning to fathom the challenges of people displaced by events such as floods, storms and sea level rise that are partly fuelled by climate change.

  6. Public-Private Pacts Open Doors to Climate Finance in Rwanda and Ethiopia

    Saturday, May 26, 2018

    BUSAN, May 26 (IPS) - The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) presented the African model of a National Financing Vehicle in which the governments of Rwanda and Ethiopia have successfully promoted green growth and climate resilience, at an event May 25 on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Busan, South Korea.

  7. When Two Becomes One: Blending Public and Private Climate Finance

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, May 23 (IPS) - With the landmark Paris Agreement now almost two years old, funding for climate-related activities continues to be a challenge. However, efforts have been underway to bring two seemingly very different sectors together to address climate change.

  8. A Natural Climate Change Adaptation Laboratory in Brazil

    Tuesday, May 22, 2018

    PINTADAS, Brazil, May 22 (IPS) - The small pulp mill that uses native fruits that were previously discarded is a synthesis of the multiple objectives of the Adapta Sertão project, a programme created to build resilience to climate change in Brazil's most vulnerable region.

  9. Will Climate Change Cause More Migrants than Wars?

    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    May 17 (IPS) - Climate change is one of the main drivers of migration and will be increasingly so. It will even have a more significant role in the displacement of people than armed conflicts, which today cause major refugee crises.

  10. Africa Gains Momentum in Green Climate Solutions

    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 (IPS) - Promoting the widespread use of innovative technologies will be critical to combat the hostile effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and many African countries are already leading the way with science-based solutions.

  11. Climate Finance: The Paris Agreement’s "Lifeblood"

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018

    BONN, May 15 (IPS) - As negotiators concluded ten days of climate talks in Bonn last week, climate finance was underlined as a key element without which the Paris Agreement's operational guidelines would be meaningless.

  12. Argentina Aims for a Delicate Climate Balance in the G20

    Friday, April 20, 2018

    BUENOS AIRES, Apr 20 (IPS) - As president this year of the Group of 20 (G20) developed and emerging nations, Argentina has now formally begun the task of trying to rebuild a consensus around climate change. It will be an uphill climb, since the position taken by the United States in 2017 led to a noisy failure in the group with regard to the issue.

  13. Caribbean Eyes Untapped Potential of World’s Largest Climate Fund

    Thursday, April 12, 2018

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 12 (IPS) - The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) also known as the 5Cs, is looking for ways to boost the region's access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

  14. Pakistan Needs Global Climate Funds to Combat Shifting Weather Patterns

    Monday, March 26, 2018

    KARACHI, Pakistan, Mar 26 (IPS) - As shifting weather patterns and extreme climates become the norm, access to climate funds are deemed essential for developing countries, such as Pakistan, that are facing the brunt of climate change.

  15. New Platform Will Support Youth Projects on Water and Climate

    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    BRASILIA, Mar 24 (IPS) - Young people around the globe with good ideas on how to deal with water and climate challenges now have a platform to show their projects to the world and attract funding and other contributions to realise their dreams.

  16. Role of Energy Efficiency in Limiting Climate Change

    Friday, March 23, 2018

    READING, United Kingdom, Mar 23 (IPS) - Greenhouse gases are produced as a by-product of the use of fossil fuels to supply light and heat, produce food, manufacture products and transport people and goods.  These gases congregate in the upper atmosphere and result in global warming through absorption of sunlight reflected from the earth's surface.  At the 21st meeting of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, it was agreed to limit the average increase in global temperature to 2°C .

  17. Climate Change is Hurting Children the Most: Here is How to Protect Them

    Friday, February 02, 2018

    Feb 02 (IPS) - In the United States, the 21 young people who are plaintiffs in the case Juliana v. United States will soon make their case against the government for failing to take action against climate change. Similar lawsuits have been filed in countries including PortugalIndiaand Pakistan.

  18. Climate-Related Disasters Cost Nearly $400 Billion in 2017

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 31 (IPS) - I am pleased to be with you at this important and timely summit on climate risk and to discuss the opportunities that are there for us to seize through decisive climate action.

  19. Sustainable Energy Critical for Achieving Overall Goals of Paris Climate Agreement

    Monday, January 15, 2018

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Jan 15 (IPS) - The Paris Agreement ushered in a new global approach to climate change. At the core of this agreement are the Nationally Determined Contributions. We are now implementing these pledges.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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."

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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