COP20—Lima Climate Conference

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  • 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

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. Latin America & the Caribbean Assess Climate Ambition and Action Ahead of COP26

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, May 13 (IPS) - The Dominican Republic opened the 2021 virtual Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week with a pledge to increase the country’s climate ambition by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent and maintaining progress towards climate neutrality according to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

  2. To Effectively Combat Climate Change, Listen and Act on Ideas from the Youth

    - Inter Press Service

    URBANA, Illinois, Apr 26 (IPS) - Recently, I participated in Kids Climate Summit 2021a virtual event that gave younger students an opportunity to take a stance on climate change, express their concerns, and learn about global climate and the actions we all can take to mitigate climate change. 

  3. The planet’s on ‘red alert’ UN chief warns leaders at President Biden’s climate summit

    - UN News

    World leaders must act now and put the planet on a green path because “we are at the verge of the abyss”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday in his address to the virtual climate summit convened by United States President Joseph Biden. 

  4. First Person: ‘Youth won’t stay silent’ says Madagascar climate activist

    - UN News

    Young people around the world “won’t stay silent” about the global climate crisis according to a youth activist from Madagascar. 

  5. Green transformation will rival industrial revolution: US climate envoy

    - UN News

    The transition to a global economic model which will slow down climate change and create jobs will be the “biggest economic transformation since the industrial revolution” according to John Kerry, the US climate envoy.

  6. Guterres urges cities to embrace ‘generational opportunity’ for climate action, sustainable development

    - UN News

    The United Nations Secretary-General, on Friday, called for a “revolution” in urban planning and urban transport to beat back impacts of climate change and build a green and sustainable future for all. 

  7. Barilla Foundation Brings Health and Climate Together in New Double Pyramid

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Apr 12 (IPS) - Following an extensive scientific review, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) is preparing to launch a new food systems model which incorporates nutrition and climate.

  8. Paris goals still ‘long way off’, says President of UN climate conference

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The world is “a long way off” from meeting the goals of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the President of the crucial upcoming UN climate conference, COP26, said on Thursday.

  9. Renewable energy access key to climate adaptation in Africa: UN chief

    - UN News

    Support for climate adaptation in Africa is crucial, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday in appealing for greater action to provide renewable energy to hundreds of millions who still lack access to reliable and affordable electricity.

  10. Climate change top challenge over the next decade, UNESCO global survey finds

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Climate change and loss of biodiversity is seen as the most pressing challenge over the decade, according to the World in 2030 Survey report published on Wednesday by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

  11. More climate action needed during ‘make-or-break year’ for people and planet

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The world needs “a major breakthrough” to slow the pace of climate change and build resilience to protect the most vulnerable from increasingly severe and frequent climate impacts, the deputy UN chief told a crucial high-level meeting on Wednesday, looking ahead to November’s COP26. 

  12. Guterres calls on US to lead global vaccination plan effort, climate action, welcoming Blinken to Headquarters

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The Secretary-General welcomed a recommitted and re-engaged United States administration to United Nations Headquarters on Monday, albeit virtually, calling on it to play a leadership role in drawing up a global vaccination plan to beat COVID-19, and make the upcoming COP26 a watershed moment for climate action.

  13. Hope & Numbers: What will it take to Tip the Scales on Climate Action?

    - Inter Press Service

    AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands, Mar 24 (IPS) - We should be well on the way to solving the climate crisis by now.

    According to the Paris Agreement, last year should have been the year that all countries presented their commitments to cut carbon emissions for limiting global climate heating to within 1.5oC of pre-industrial levels.

  14. International Women’s Day, 2021 - Why Green Growth and Climate Action Fall Short Without Addressing Gender Inequality

    - Inter Press Service

    SEOUL, Republic of Korea, Mar 08 (IPS) - As the global effort to address climate change has strengthened over the last few years, so has the realization that rising temperatures and climactic disruptions disproportionately impact women, particularly in developing countries, as they tend to be more dependent upon natural resources and are thus overrepresented in resource-intensive economic sectors.

  15. International Women's Day 2021 A Post-COVID World Needs Amplified Womens Voices in Politics, Climate Change

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Mar 06 (IPS) - The UN says young women remain particularly underrepresented in politics and disproportionately excluded from consultation on issues that affect them such as climate change. This IPS International Women’s Day article features 2 young Saint Lucian women; one in her first year as a senator and the other, a champion for sustainable living and environmental protectio.

    The theme for International Women’s Day 2021, ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in the COVID-19 World,’ is grounded in the reality that this women’s day is unlike any other.

  16. How Households Increased Food Waste is Feeding Climate Change

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Mar 04 (IPS) - Twenty percent of all food bought by households, retailers, restaurants and other food services in 54 countries around the world was thrown away in 2019 -- contributing to some 931 million tonnes of food waste and feeding climate change.

  17. A Growing Shift in the Narrative about Climate Action

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 25 (IPS) - A keen awareness about the intersection of our ecosystem and the “accelerating destabilisation of the climate” is helping shift the narrative for climate action and can help us transition from being polluters to becoming protectors of the climate, said Marco Lambertini, Director General at the World Wide Fund for Nature.

  18. The Global Insecurity of Climate Change

    - Inter Press Service

    BONN, Germany, Feb 24 (IPS) - For Sudanese youth, climate change is synonymous with insecurity.

  19. Cuba Prioritises Sustainable Water Management in the Face of Climate Challenges

    - Inter Press Service

    HAVANA, Feb 23 (IPS) - With the construction of aqueducts, water purification and desalination plants, and investments to upgrade hydraulic infrastructure, Cuba is seeking to manage the impacts of droughts and floods that are intensifying with climate change.

  20. Successful Crop Innovation Is Mitigating Climate Crisis Impact in Africa

    - Inter Press Service

    IBADAN and MEXICO CITY, Feb 17 (IPS) - 17 February - African smallholder farmers have no choice but to adapt to climate change: 2020 was the second hottest year on record, while prolonged droughts and explosive floods are directly threatening the livelihoods of millions. By the 2030s, lack of rainfall and rising temperatures could render 40 percent of Africa’s maize-growing area unsuitable for climate-vulnerable varieties grown by farmers, while maize remains the preferred and affordable staple food for millions of Africans who survive on less than a few dollars of income a day.

  21. Leveraging AI to Fight Climate Change

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 17 (IPS) - International organisations, researchers and data scientists say artificial intelligence (AI) and big data are critical to combat years of promises but inadequate action on the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises.

  22. Climate Change & Policy Making in Nepal

    - Inter Press Service

    KATHMANDU, Nepal, Feb 16 (IPS) - Raju Pandit Chhetri is one of the most acclaimed climate change policy experts in Nepal and South Asia. As Director of the Prakiriti Resource Centre, an action focused think tank based in Kathmandu, Pandit Cheetri shares his opinion on the latest climate focused policies being undertaken by the Government of Nepal, especially the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution NDC that was recently submitted by the Government.

  23. What Worlds Largest Climate Change Public Opinion Poll Says

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 27 (IPS) - Between October and December 2020, something was different for people playing popular video games like Words with Friends, Angry Birds and Subway Surfers. Instead of a traditional 30-second ad, gamers across the world were invited to participate in a climate change survey. It was an unconventional way of polling that gave University of Oxford researchers an opportunity to tap into the 2.7 billion user-strong gaming market and produce the world’s largest climate change public opinion poll.

  24. We are Facing a Climate Emergency, Warns UN Chief

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 26 (IPS) - Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in an address to the Climate Adaptation SummitWe begin this year with a heightened awareness of the importance of resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that we cannot afford to ignore known risks.

  25. International Partnership Helps Mongolia Counter Climate Change

    - Inter Press Service

    BHUBANESWAR, India, Jan 26 (IPS) - Climate warming is believed to have taken place at some of the fastest rates in the world in Mongolia, raising the country's average temperatures by 2.24°C between 1940 and 2015, with the last decade being the warmest of the past 76 years.

  26. As the United States Rejoins the Paris Climate Accord and Boldly Confronts Climate Change Crisis- Forget Not the Youth

    - Inter Press Service

    URBANA, Illinois, Jan 21 (IPS) - On the first day, hours after inauguration of the new Biden-Harris administrationPresident Biden signed an Executive Order-rejoining the United States in the Paris Climate Accord.

  27. Renewable Energy Transition Key to Addressing Climate Change Challenge

    - Inter Press Service

    BONN, Germany, Jan 13 (IPS) - 2021 is going to be critical, not only for curbing the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but also for meeting the climate challenge.

    But as Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) was clear to point out, the climate challenge is essentially an energy challenge. And as large polluters continue to commit to targets of net zero emissions by 2050, the world could -- in theory -- potentially address the climate challenge.

  28. Climate Action for Human Rights

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW CALEDONIA, Dec 09 (IPS) - Climate change and human rights are two key issues in international development and their interaction is increasingly in need of focus at national, regional and international levels.

    In the Pacific, where the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories are on the front line of both climate ambition and the ongoing effects of the climate crisis, climate change is recognised as the region’s single greatest threat.

  29. Keeping Climate Ambition Alive: Challenges Remain but Signs of Progress Abound

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    WASHINGTON DC, Dec 03 (IPS) - For those of us in the international climate action community, 2020 isn’t ending the way we expected when we rang in the new year.

    Even before 2020 dawned, countries were hard at work planning for their first updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in line with the Paris Agreement’s five-year NDC revision cycle.

    NDCs are official statements, prepared by countries themselves, outlining the commitments they are making to reduce national emissions and adapt to climate change’s impacts. They are at the heart of putting the Paris Agreement into practice and pursuing action on a global scale.

  30. Vietnam and Cambodia: Leveraging Support to Enhance Climate Ambition

    - Inter Press Service

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 19 (IPS) - The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every facet of our lives and delayed what was slated to be a landmark Conference of the Parties (COP26). This pivotal year marks the first due date for countries to submit revised national climate plans per the five-year cycle required by the Paris Agreement.

    Remarkably, countries are still moving forward with renewed urgency. And many countries are integrating green recovery into their COVID-19 responses, further contributing to climate action. While many countries have positive stories to tell, both of our nations, Vietnam and Cambodia, are sterling examples of nations taking strong, decisive action, particularly with support through the NDC Partnership. Just last month, the people of Vietnam submitted their updated national climate plan and, in short order, the people of Cambodia will do likewise.

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Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created:

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