COP20—Lima Climate Conference
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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.
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
- The new agreement does not reflect the urgency of the climate crisis
- Some good agreements – but no measures to ensure implementation
- Least developed and vulnerable nations left out in the cold
- Divestment (from fossil fuel reliance) is more important than ever
- 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’.
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:
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:
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:
- Official United Nations section on COP20
- Updates from the Third World Network
- Coverage from Democracy Now! including useful news videos
- COP20 background from WWF
News stories from IPS
Below is a list of stories from Inter Press Service related to the Lima climate conference and its aftermath.
Monday, November 18, 2019
NOUMEA, New Caledonia, Nov 18 (IPS) - In just under a month, countries around the world will gather for UNFCCC COP 25. The hashtag for this year's "Blue COP" is yet another reminder to us all that it is "Time For Action". We can no longer afford to wait as the effects of the climate crisis become ever more present. Vulnerable populations, whether from Small Island States, the rural heartland or the world's megacities, are becoming ever more vulnerable, and the wellbeing of people and planet continues to face its most existential threat.
Governments, Donors and Investors Must Put Their Money Where Their Mouths are on Gender and Climate Change
Thursday, October 17, 2019
NAIROBI, Oct 17 (IPS) - Climate change has a disproportionate impact on women and girls. This is clear when it comes to water, for instance. The Global Commission on Adaptation Report launched at the United Nations General Assembly last week states that the number of people who may lack sufficient water, at least one month per year, will soar from 3.6 billion today to more than 5 billion by 2050.
Tuesday, October 08, 2019
INCHEON, South Korea, Oct 08 (IPS) - Good news: the graph depicting climate investments has been steadily increasing. Climbing from the 2012 figure of $360 billion in climate investments across the world to close to $600 billion currently.
Monday, October 07, 2019
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Oct 07 (IPS) - As a result of climate change, resource extraction industries in Africa will be impacted by asset stranding, researchers say.
Tuesday, October 01, 2019
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 01 (IPS) - The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley tells IPS her patience is running thin, as she challenges the world to tackle the climate crisis.
Tuesday, October 01, 2019
BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct 01 (IPS) - Last week, world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York for the Climate Action Summit. Their goal was simple: to increase ambition and accelerate action in the face of a mounting climate emergency.
Q&A: How Vietnam went from Zero to Hero in Developing Solar Projects and What Other Countries Can Do for Climate Change
Friday, September 27, 2019
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 27 (IPS) - A week ago, downtown New York witnessed one of the most historic moments in the climate action moment — hundreds of thousands of people attended the Climate Strike, where teen activists delivered powerful speeches and blows to world leaders for not taking climate change seriously.
Friday, September 27, 2019
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 27 (IPS) - African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina unveiled millions of dollars of new pledges at the United Nations this week amid growing fears of climate change ravaging the continent and derailing anti-poverty targets.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
ILLINOIS, United States, Sep 25 (IPS) - Around the world, citizens took to the streets to demand their governments address climate change. In the U.S., this widespread activism illustrates the findings of a newly released report by the Chicago Council on Global affairs which found for the first time that the majority of Americans consider climate change a threat and the most critical foreign policy issue facing the country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
- Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Reactions to Climate Change Negotiations and Action
- Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction
- Global Warming, Spin and Media
- Climate Justice and Equity
- Climate Change Flexibility Mechanisms
- Carbon Sinks, Forests and Climate Change
- Climate Change Affects Biodiversity
- Global Warming and Population
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