UN Climate Change Conference Marathon in Lima Ends with Further Preparatory Steps for Paris Meeting 2015

The UN Climate Change Conference in Lima held over the last two weeks in Lima, Peru, ended on Sunday, two days later than scheduled. It took preparatory steps for a global environmental agreement aimed at limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels to be concluded in Paris at the end of next year and due to take effect 2020.

Unlike the Kyoto Protocol to which less than forty countries that emit about 15% of global greenhouse gases committed during the second commitment period (2013 to 2020), the Paris agreement shall for the first time bind all nations. The Lima conference did not produce a full-fledged proposal for an agreement for the Paris conference, but agreed on the “Lima Call for Climate Action”, which contains an Annex with elements for a draft negotiating text.

Below we have listed main results of the Lima Call:

  • Commitment to reaching an ambitious agreement in 2015 that reflects the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances;
  • The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action shall intensify its work, with a view to making available a negotiating text for the Paris meeting before May 2015;
  • Invitation to each party to communicate to the secretariat its intended nationally determined contribution towards achieving the objective of the Convention in a manner that facilitates the clarity, transparency and understanding of the contribution; contributions shall represent a progression beyond the current undertaking of the party; national pledges shall be submitted by the first quarter of 2015 by those states “ready to do so”;
  • Synthesis report to be published by 1 November 2015 on the aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions communicated by parties by 1 October 2015;
  • Invitation to all parties to consider communicating their undertakings in adaptation planning or consider including an adaptation component in their intended nationally determined contributions (the press release states that progress was made “on elevating adaptation onto the same level as the curbing and cutting of curbing greenhouse gas emissions”);
  • Annex with draft negotiating text that contains various options for most of the provisions.

Further pledges were made at the Lima conference to the Green Climate Fund by the governments of Norway, Australia, Belgium, Peru, Colombia and Austria, bringing the total sum pledged to close to USD 10.2 billion. In a further boost to the adaptation ambitions of developing countries, Germany made a pledge of EUR 55 million to the Adaptation Fund.

Dr. Barbara Hendricks, the German minister for the environment, nature conservation, building and nuclear safety commented that it was to be expected that central questions of the new agreement can only be resolved in Paris. The road to Paris would require enormous efforts. One element would be the upcoming 2015 Petersberg climate dialogue.

It now indeed remains to be seen how things will develop until and during the Paris Meeting 2015.

Sources: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change, press release, Lima Call for Climate Action; Federal Ministry for the Environment,  Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety

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