What was agreed and what wasn't agreed in Lima climate talks

U.N. climate negotiations wrapped up in Lima on Sunday with a modest agreement about the building blocks of a deal due to be agreed on in Paris in a year's time.

What was agreed and what wasn't agreed in Lima climate talks

World Bulletin/News Desk

A Paris summit in 2015 will face a tougher task to agree a U.N. deal to slow climate change after the hopes of many that cooperation between Washington and Beijing would be a magic key to end global gridlock dissolved in chaotic preparatory talks in Lima.

At best, Paris may be a chance to reform a sprawling system of annual U.N. talks - more than 11,000 delegates attended the two-week talks in a tent city in Lima - and find ways to boost long-term action to stem rising greenhouse gas emissions.

After a frantic conclusion two days into overtime on Sunday, about 190 governments agreed only to some modest building blocks of a Paris accord despite high expectations for a positive outcome after the China and the United States, the world's top two emitters, last month agreed jointly to limit emissions.

But the political momentum of the deal gave way to the familiar divisions and "red lines" that routinely bog down talks, especially on the question of how to differentiate the responsibilities of rich and poor countries.

"The U.S.-China announcement hinted at a fundamental shift putting developed and developing countries on a more equal footing. It's no surprise that in Lima a lot of developing countries pushed back," said Elliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

The United Nations says it is already clear that promises for emissions curbs at a Paris summit in December 2015 will be too weak to get on track for a U.N. goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times.

"We will have a lot of work to do," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said of the task ahead for Paris.

Still, 2015 holds out a hope of reform for the U.N. system to rein in greenhouse gases blamed for causing heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

Paris could mark a shift away from two decades of climate diplomacy toward a more technocratic system that would allow national pledges for action to limit warming to be compared and toughened in coming years.

Yvo de Boer, a former U.N. climate chief, said one problem was that U.N. negotiators lacked authority. "If the leaders of the Group of 20 got together and said 'let's get this done' the whole thing would be over in 30 minutes," he told Reuters.

De Boer, who heads the Global Green Growth Institute, which helps developing nations, noted that annual climate talks have ballooned since 1,000 delegates attended a first meeting in 1994.

"Paris could be an opportunity to change that, if it identifies the cornerstones of the work that needs to be done. It could make it into a technical process and not a political process," he said.

So far, however, the signs even of that are not good.

Texts agreed in Lima will oblige governments to provide only vague plans for limiting greenhouse gas emissions - the cornerstone of a Paris deal - after China objected to a European Union drive for detailed accounts.

The outcome of the Lima talks, which attracted delegates ranging from OPEC oil ministers to vegans dressed as chickens, means that a Paris deal is likely to be a mere patchwork of national offers for curbing emissions.

Adding pressure, this year is set to be the warmest, or among the very hottest, on record, according to the U.N. weather agency.

Some long-time U.N. climate talk observers said the weak outcome from Lima proves that the U.N. multilateral process is not the best for climate action. Businesses and cities are among those taking action.

"While negotiators had difficulty in reaching agreement in Lima even on a modest set of outcomes, the U.N. is no longer the only show in town," said Nathaniel Keohane of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Following are details of the Lima agreements:


All nations will be asked to submit plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, known as "Intended Nationally Determined Contributions," or INDCs, to the United Nations by an informal deadline of March 31, 2015, as the core of a Paris deal.

But there will be few obligations to provide details and no review to compare each nation's pledges - as had been demanded by the European Union - after China and other emerging nations refused.

The text says INDCs "may include" details such as base years and yearly targets, far weaker than a former draft that said nations "shall provide" such details.

INDCs will be published on the website of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, which will prepare by Nov. 1, 2015, a report of the overall climate effect of all the INDCs in slowing warming.


The text invites actions by all nations to combat warming, blurring a distinction in a 1992 climate convention that split the world into two camps of rich and poor - under which the rich had to lead the way.

Many emerging economies, such as India, insisted on that continued split. But the United States and other rich nations said the world had changed and that developing countries also had to curb their rising emissions.

The diplomatic formula encompassing the rival demands ended up in the text as: "common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances."


Donations to a Green Climate Fund, due to help developing nations cut their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, fractionally surpassed a U.N. goal of $10 billion, helped by donations by Australia and Belgium.

Lima reiterated a goal for developed nations to mobilize $100 billion a year, in public and private funds, in climate aid for developing nations by 2020.

Developing nations wanted rich nations to set a clear timetable for scaling up funds year by year. But a text merely "requested" that developed nations "enhance the available quantitative and qualitative elements of a pathway" toward 2020.


The talks agreed on a 37-page document of "elements" that will form the basis of a negotiating text for Paris next year. But the range of options is very wide.

One option, for instance, is to set a long-term goal of a cut in greenhouse gas emissions to "net zero by 2050," requiring a drastic shift from fossil fuels in coming years. Another long-term option for the same section would merely require "low-emission development strategies."

Many developing nations want help to adapt to climate change, for instance helping farmers to grow drought- or flood-resistant food. One option, for instance, says: "Establish a global goal for adaptation" - another the opposite: "No global goal for adaptation."


Developing countries vulnerable to extreme weather successfully won a mention of "loss and damage" - for instance, compensation for super typhoons - in the text, although the United States had pushed not to include it.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Aralık 2014, 11:00