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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Limiting Climate Change to 1.5 C is not Impossible, Says IPCC Chair

    Monday, December 03, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Dec 03 (IPS) - Lee Hoesung was appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2015. He is also the Endowed Chair Professor of economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development in the Republic of Korea*.

    When governments set a target in December 2015 of limiting global warming to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to hold it at 1.5ºC, they invited the IPCC to prepare a report to provide information on this Goal.

  13. Combatting Climate Change with Bamboo

    Thursday, November 29, 2018

    ROME, Nov 29 (IPS) - Did you know bamboo can help combat climate change? Fast growing and flexible, bamboo plants and products can store more carbon than certain types of tree. Bamboo is also used around the world as a source of renewable energy, and to make thousands of durable products - providing a lifeline for communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

  14. Climate Change Drives Up Rural Poverty in Latin America

    Saturday, November 24, 2018

    BUENOS AIRES, Nov 24 (IPS) - Only 18 percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean live in rural areas, but these are increasingly hotbeds of poverty, and climate change is playing a major role in this phenomenon.

  15. Women’s Climate Leadership More Vital Than Ever In Light Of Climate Change Report

    Monday, October 29, 2018

    SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 29 (IPS) - Osprey Orielle Lake is the founder and executive director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International and co-chair of International Advocacy for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She is the author of the award-winning book Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature.   Emily Arasim has served as WECAN International's media and communications coordinator and project assistant since 2014. She is an avid photojournalist, writer and farmer from New Mexico.The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which arrived thunderously in October, concludes that we have only 12 years remaining to transform our energy systems and ways of living to limit the worst effects of climate change.

  16. UAE Raising Awareness About the Impact of Climate Change

    Friday, October 19, 2018

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates,, Oct 19 (IPS) - The Middle East, due to its geographical location, is particularly prone to the impacts of climate change.

    Longer droughts, more frequent and intense heatwaves, and higher temperatures in the summer are expected to to become increasingly prevalent throughout the Middle East - from Sana'a to Jeddah to Dubai to Tehran.

  17. Caribbean Nations Pay the Price for Climate Change Caused by Others

    Tuesday, October 16, 2018

    BUENOS AIRES, Oct 16 (IPS) - Although their contribution to global warming is negligible, Caribbean nations are bearing the brunt of its impact. Climate phenomena are so devastating that countries are beginning to prepare not so much to adapt to the new reality, but to get their economies back on their feet periodically.

  18. Rwanda Leverages Green Climate Fund’s Opportunities to Fast-Track Sustainable Development

    Friday, October 12, 2018

    KIGALI, Oct 12 (IPS) - In a move to achieve its green growth aspirations by 2050, Rwanda has placed a major focus on promoting project proposals that shift away from "business as usual" and have a significant impact on curbing climate change while attracting private investment.

  19. “Our Choices Matter More Than Ever Before” To Limit Climate Change

    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 10 (IPS) - The release of a groundbreaking report has left the international community reeling over very real, intensified impacts of climate change which will hit home sooner rather than later. So what now?

  20. Climate Change Response Must Be Accompanied By a Renewed Approach to Economic Development

    Friday, October 05, 2018

    KINGSTON, Oct 05 (IPS) - In the face of the many challenges posed by climate change, Panos Caribbean, a global network of institutes working to give a voice to poor and marginalised communities, says the Caribbean must raise its voice to demand and support the global temperature target of 1.5 °C.

  21. Fixing the Crisis of Confidence in the Green Climate Fund

    Monday, October 01, 2018

    WASHINGTON DC, Oct 01 (IPS) - Jacob Waslander is a Senior Associate at World Resources Institute and a former board member of the Green Climate Fund & Patricia Quijano Vallejos is a lawyer and Research Analyst in the Finance Center at World Resources Institute.The Green Climate Fund's mandate couldn't be more crucial: accelerating climate action in developing countries by supporting transformational investments in adaptation and emissions reduction.

  22. Climate Change Undermining Global Efforts to Eradicate Hunger

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 24 (IPS) - The United Nations warned last month that the accelerating impacts of climate change—"already clearly visible today"-- have triggered an unpredictable wave of natural disasters-- including extreme heatwaves, wild fires, storms, and floods during the course of this year.

  23. Countries On the Frontline of Climate Change Impact Call for Stronger Mitigation Commitments

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    SAN FRANCISCO and ST. JOHN’S, Sep 24 (IPS) - Caribbean leaders want larger countries to pick up the pace at which they are working to meet the climate change challenge and keep global warming from devastating whole countries, including the most vulnerable ones like those in the Caribbean.

  24. Ethiopia’s Struggle Against Climate Change Gets a Boost from Green Climate Fund

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    ADDIS ABABA, Sep 24 (IPS) - Faced with worsening droughts due to climate change, Ethiopia is joining an international initiative seeking to build global resilience against the problems caused by it, and enable developing countries to become part of a united solution to the ongoing problem. 

  25. “Running Out Of Time” - Local Communities Mobilise for the Climate

    Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 12 (IPS) - Local communities across the globe have risen up to demand commitments on climate change, as frustration mounts over the lack of action.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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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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