COP20—Lima Climate Conference

Author and Page information

  • by Anup Shah
  • This page Created

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


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,, 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. Drawing a line in the sand as communities adapt to climate change

    - UN News

    Communities in some of the most climate-change-affected areas in southern Madagascar are finding ways to thrive in increasingly challenging environments by becoming more resilient and adapting to unpredictable weather patterns.

  2. Climate and conflict collide on the high seas: UN warns of soaring costs and delays

    - UN News

    Attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea coupled with wider geopolitical and climate-related crises, are upending international trade, inflating costs and causing major delays, the UN’s trade and development body said on Thursday.

  3. Phasing out from Fossil Fuels: An Imperative for Climate Justice

    - Inter Press Service

    YAOUNDE, Feb 20 (IPS) - Climate change made 2023 the warmest year on record. As urgency mounts to address this worldwide crisis, phasing out the use of fossil fuels is a necessary step that all nations must take. This is because fossil fuels—coal, oil and gas -- are the primary drivers of the climate crisis accounting for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

  4. Climate-affected Madagascar adapts to new reality: A Resident Coordinator blog

    - UN News

    People living in Madagascar are learning to adapt to rapidly altering climatic conditions in what is said to be the fourth most climate change affected country worldwide; that’s according to the UN Resident Coordinatorthe most senior UN official in the Indian Ocean island nation.

  5. Grassroots Voices Unite to Call for Climate Justice

    - Inter Press Service

    KATHMANDU, Feb 16 (IPS) - Kiprotich Peter from the East African country of Kenya is trying to convey his climate crisis message using the platform of the World Social Forum (WSF) taking place in the mountain nation of Nepal, which has also been battered by the impacts of climate change.

  6. Rising hunger: UN chief identifies wars, climate chaos as aggravating factors

    - UN News

    Countries must act now to break the deadly links between conflict, climate and food insecurity, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, addressing a Security Council meeting focused on these challenges.

  7. Climate Change Is Amplifying Household’s Food Insecurity, Putting More Pressure on Women’s Mental Health

    - Inter Press Service

    KATHMANDU, Feb 12 (IPS) - Studies have long shown that some women’s lower status in Nepali households could mean that they eat last and less and as a result lack nutrition. Experts are now looking into how this could affect their mental health, and if the growing impacts of climate change might amplify the process.

  8. Hit by Climate Change, Authorities Seek to Improve Saffron Yields in Kashmir

    - Inter Press Service

    SRINAGAR, India, Feb 07 (IPS) - Saffron, the expensive spice from the Kashmir Himalayas, has been facing challenges for years, mostly related to yields and inadequate irrigation compounded by the climate crisis.

  9. Road to COP29: Highest Climate Ambitions Needed to Decarbonize World

    - Inter Press Service

    NAIROBI, Feb 05 (IPS) - The road to COP29 has begun in earnest in the backdrop of a global climate report indicating that not only was 2023 the warmest year in a 174-year climate record, it was the warmest by far. Record-breaking temperatures, combined with El Niño, pushed vulnerable and poor nations in the Global South to the frontlines of extreme and severe weather events.

  10. How Asia Can Unlock $800 Billion of Climate Financing

    - Inter Press Service

    WASHINGTON DC, Jan 31 (IPS) - Countries in the Asia-Pacific region face a shortfall of at least $800 billion in climate financing. With public finances depleted by the pandemic, policymakers must unlock the vast potential of private capital to join the fight more effectively against global warming.

  11. Snow Tales: Too Little, Too Late, Say Climate Experts

    - Inter Press Service

    KARACHI, Jan 29 (IPS) - Whether the late snow in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region is an anomaly or an indication of the impacts of climate change, which brings erratic and at times devastating weather patterns, experts in the region believe not enough is being invested in the development of capacities, systems, and infrastructure to improve resilience.

  12. Under the Scorching Sun Kenyan Farmers Find New Ways to Beat Climate Change

    - Inter Press Service

    KOTIANG, KENYA, Jan 26 (IPS) - Rural Kenyans are forging a path toward a more sustainable future and protecting their lives and livelihoods from climate change through regenerative agriculture, nurturing hope for their communities and the environment.

  13. IPS Offers Climate Change Justice Fellowship

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 24 (IPS) - IPS is offering an exceptional opportunity for two journalists to develop their understanding of climate change justice.

  14. Matchmaking for Green Cities? Accelerating Climate Finance in Urban Areas

    - Inter Press Service

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Jan 23 (IPS) - Asia and the Pacific is home to 54 per cent of the world's urban population, who are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (ESCAP, 2023; IPCC, 2022). Why then, do climate action projects in cities commonly face delays in implementation?

  15. Advanced Economies Must Let the IMF Play a Productive Role on Climate

    - Inter Press Service

    WASHINGTON DC, Jan 12 (IPS) - The world faces the existential threat of a climate change crisis, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the outcome of the latest UN climate summit, COP28 — hosted as it was by the CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies, and filled with a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists — is not going to do much to change that.

  16. World News in Brief: Time for climate justice urges UN chief, Ukraine war update, call for ‘free and fair’ elections

    - UN News

    The European climate agency on Tuesday reported that record global heat last year showed an overall increase of 1.48°C above pre-industrial levels – just a fraction below the 1.5-degree threshold laid out by the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.

  17. Peru's Andean Peoples 'Revive' Water that the Climate Crisis Is Taking From Them

    - Inter Press Service

    CUZCO, Peru, Dec 18 (IPS) - "The rich world has caused the climate change that is drying up our water sources, and here we are doing everything we can to recover them because otherwise we will die," said Juan Hilario Quispe, president of the small farming community of Muñapata, just over 50 kilometers from the Peruvian city of Cuzco.

  18. IFAD's Record-Breaking Pledges: Lifeline for Rural Communities Cornered by Climate, Hunger

    - Inter Press Service

    NAIROBI, Dec 15 (IPS) - The world is not on track to end hunger and poverty as a future of growing food insecurity and climate challenges beckon. Small-scale farmers are the backbone of food production, producing one-third of the world’s food and up to 70 percent of the food consumed in Africa and Asia, yet they are often cut off from the services they need to pull themselves out of poverty and food insecurity.

  19. INTERVIEW: ‘Climate of division’ creating more challenging environment for UN peacekeeping

    - UN News

    UN peacekeeping missions in Sub-Saharan Africa are operating under more challenging political and security conditions due to a multiplication of crises and a “climate of division” amongst Member States, particularly in the Security Council. That’s according to the head of UN Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

  20. Its Time To Align Climate Finance and Social Justice, Says Youth Climate Activist

    - Inter Press Service

    DUBAI, Dec 12 (IPS) - Joshua Amponsem, co-director of the Youth Climate Justice Fund, believes it is time to ensure climate finance and social justice issues are elevated to the top of the agenda and negotiations at COP28.

  21. Climate advocates demand stronger COP28 language on fossil fuels

    - UN News

    The latest COP28 draft outcome text released to negotiators in Dubai Monday evening dropped a call to ‘phaseout’ fossil fuels, prompting outcry from climate vulnerable countries and civil society.

  22. Climate Justice is the Responsibility of the Wealthier Nations, Says Bangladesh Climate Envoy

    - Inter Press Service

    DUBAI, Dec 11 (IPS) - Wealthier nations must deliver the finances so developing countries can adapt—the time for excuses is over, says Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Bangladesh's Special Envoy for Climate Change in the Prime Minister's Office.

  23. Greening Education: Education Paying Highest Cost for Ongoing Climate Crisis

    - Inter Press Service

    DUBAI, Dec 09 (IPS) - It is a global catastrophe of astounding proportions that millions of children are on the run today, forcibly displaced from their homes. As conflict and climate change increasingly become the most pressing challenges facing the world now, the number of displaced children has doubled in the last decade alone, reaching a record high of 43.3 million children.

  24. For Africans, the Climate Debate Around the Role of Livestock Misses the Mark

    - Inter Press Service

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 08 (IPS) - Africa is contending with a climate crisis it did not create without sufficient recognition for the unique rights and needs of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population. Not only is the continent least responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, having historically produced just a tiny fractionbut it is also disproportionately impacted by the consequences of emissions generated elsewhere.

  25. Why Climate Justice and Global Financial Reform Are Inseparable

    - Inter Press Service

    DUBAI & DOMINICA, Dec 08 (IPS) - An award-winning international development expert and a climate justice expert have called for a rethink of the global financial system that would bring reparatory justice to small, climate-vulnerable nations while offering concessionary development financing to the countries most in need of assistance.

  26. Our voices and needs must be put first in climate talks, young people tell COP28

    - UN News

    Young climate advocates at COP28 in Dubai on Friday said they will not sit idly by while climate change threatens their futures. They demanded that government policymakers put the needs of the world’s nearly 2 billion children first – their voices and ideas can help rescue the planet.

  27. Faith Pavilion Adds Spiritual Dimension to Climate Crisis Resolution

    - Inter Press Service

    DUBAI, Dec 07 (IPS) - For the first time at COP28, faith has a pavilion alongside science, technology, nations, and philanthropy, allowing religious leaders from all over the world to discuss the potential for using spiritual merits to protect the earth from climate change.

  28. COP28: Climate Migrants Rights, Risk-based Labor Polices Under the Spotlight

    - Inter Press Service

    DUBAI, Dec 07 (IPS) - With COP23 underway, researchers and activists are pointing at the plight of climate migrants.

  29. COP28 is about action, not politics and point scoring, says UN climate chief

    - UN News

    UN climate chief Simon Stiell said on Wednesday that COP28 delegates are not in Dubai to “score points” and play at “lowest-denominator politics”; they must take ambitious action on curbing global warming and ending the climate crisis.

  30. Emerging Climate Finance Infrastructure to Match Africa's Green Bankable Solutions

    - Inter Press Service

    DUBAI, Dec 06 (IPS) - Although long profiled as the face of climate change, a high-risk continent with a pipeline of unbankable green projects, there are areas where Africa is leading the world. The 1987 accidental discovery of the first deposit of natural hydrogen during a water drilling campaign in Bourakebougou village, Mali, is today proving that Africa can export viable green solutions.

Back to top

Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created:

Back to top