Washout in Lima: CoP 20 ends without pledges for emissions cuts till 2020

Climate summit decisions will not result in a climate deal in 2015, says Centre for Science and Environment. World headed for a 3-4°C temperature rise

Published: Monday 15 December 2014


The two-week climate summit in Lima ended on a dismal note. Developed countries did not pledge to reduce their emissions from now till 2020. They also gave no concrete assurance to provide finance and technology to developing countries.

The “Lima Call to Climate Action” is a major setback for an effective climate deal in Paris in 2015, said Delhi non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

CBDR diluted

“The principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability (CBDR), the cornerstone of climate negotiations, has been further diluted and compromised, leading the way for developed countries to continue their high emissions,” said Chandra Bhushan, CSE’s deputy director general who has been attending the deliberations in Lima.

Every country can now decide what they want to do to reduce their emissions. But they will not be asked to explain how their efforts are fair and ambitious. They will also not face any rigorous assessment process ahead of the Paris summit. “No questions will be asked, and none answered,” said Bhushan.

The 20th Conference of Parties (CoP20) will be remembered for bad process, non-transparency and non-inclusiveness. It has further widened the trust gap between the developed and developing countries. The final agreement only postpones the inevitable – a big fight next year in the run-up to the Paris meeting and eventually, a weak deal that will take the world to a 3-4°OC temperature rise, risking the lives and livelihoods of billions of poor people across the world.

What climate inaction implies

CSE researchers said India has not gained or lost anything in the short term, but will lose in the longer term as the principle of CBDR has been further diluted. This deal will lead to a much weaker climate agreement in Paris under which countries will not do much till 2030. This means two things:

  1. The world will continue on its trajectory of 3-4°C warming, leading to increase in extreme weather events like the extreme rainfalls that we have witnessed in Uttrarakhand, J&K and Meghalaya in the last two years. Monsoons will become more unpredictable affecting agriculture and livelihoods of more than half the Indian population, especially marginal farmers.
  2. By 2030, the big polluters would have appropriated most of the available carbon space, leaving nothing for most developing countries, including India. A weak climate deal in Paris means that in 2030 the US and China will have per capita emissions of 12 tonne – four times more than India. After 2030, countries like India will be asked to go to an emergency emission reduction plan which will be highly detrimental to the economic development of the nation.

Sunita Narain, director general of CSE, said: “The Lima agreement will further erode the differentiation between developed and the developing countries. The burden of tackling climate change will decisively shift to developing countries making their efforts towards poverty reduction and sustainable development difficult and expensive.”

The Emissions gap report 2014

Low carbon economy index 2014: two degrees of separation - ambition and reality

The status of climate finance at COP 20, Lima

Greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030

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