Peru summit: dignitaries call for equitable climate treaty

Negotiations in Lima expected to pave the way for new climate deal

By Vijeta Rattani, Arjuna Srinidhi
Published: Wednesday 03 December 2014

Photo courtesy: UNFCCC

The Conference of Parties (COP 20) and the Conference of Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 10) began on Monday in Lima, capital of Peru. The inaugural plenary session saw the presence of several dignitaries, including UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christina Figueres, new COP President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal and IPCC Chairperson R K Pachauri.

In his opening address, outgoing COP President Marcin Korolec urged parties to take forward the legacy of the Warsaw summit, which resulted in significant developments on mitigation, finance and forests. He also insisted on the importance of education in dealing with climate change, saying, “Only with better understanding of basic science and possible threats and ways to act, we will be able to build adequate policies in our countries with sufficient public support.”

In her opening statement, Figueres set the agenda for the Peru summit, calling on parties to “bring a draft of a new, universal climate change agreement to the table and clarify how national contributions will be communicated next year”. She also emphasised the need for consolidated progress on adaptation, enhancing the delivery of finance and encouraging stakeholders to scale up and accelerate efforts.

Figueres was optimistic for the success of the Peru summit which, she believes, will be able to “raise the necessary action before Paris”.

Pulgar-Vidal, who is also environment minister of Peru, said he wanted this COP to provide “a clear and solid foundation for the new global climate agreement”. He stressed that adaptation needs to be given equal emphasis as mitigation and also hoped that the framework for an effective “Loss and Damage” mechanism would be operationalised.

Pulgar-Vidal declared the COP 20/CMP 10 officially open and added that Lima Climate Action Day would be observed on December 11, during the summit.

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala reiterated that climate change was a result of “unsustainable human activities” and that there was a global need to chalk out a “clear path towards a low carbon energy pathway”.

Finally, Rajendra Pachauri highlighted the findings of the latest IPCC report. He pointed out that 35 per cent of total emissions are a result of the energy sector while 24 per cent are from agriculture. The future impacts of climate change are alarming with respect to increase in ocean temperatures, melting of the Arctic glacier and rise in sea levels. These have the potential to cause food and water shortage, increase in poverty and increased displacement of refugees, he added. (Read: Final warning)

Pachauri said “the window for action is rapidly closing” and urged parties to come up with an “equitable, ethical and implementable” plan of action.

The Peru summit is the last crucial step before the final summit in Paris in 2015. Parties are expected to negotiate a draft text of the new agreement. Countries are also expected to announce their emission reduction targets, especially after recent reduction targets declared by the EU, the US and China. (Read: What to expect of the UN climate change conference in Peru)

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