Ministers need to get down to business during week 2 at COP20

December 8, 2014, Lima, PeruToday at the UN climate negotiations in Lima, two new draft texts were released which could allow Ministers arriving tomorrow to make real progress on a robust climate action agreement due to be signed in Paris this time next year. 

One text outlines options for dealing with the elements to feature in the Paris agreement. The other, the draft COP decision, details options for the scope and format of country’s intended nationally determined contributions (INDCS) - due early next year - as well as featuring ways to scale up climate action now. 

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, outlined four key areas where Ministers can exert their influence and provide much-needed political guidance to negotiators over the coming days. 

“There are a range of crunch issues which are affecting the dynamics between countries here in Lima, and must be resolved to make significant progress towards the agreement in Paris at the end of next year,” Meyer says. 

“These include the need to make sure that national emissions reduction pledges are put forward every five years, starting for 2025, so that climate action is scaled up frequently, as well as setting clear expectations for countries putting forward fair but differentiated climate action contributions that reflect their varying capacities and responsibility for causing climate change.” 

“In addition, ministers can help clarify and strengthen language referring to loss and damage. Finally, they need to help reach decisions here in Lima that increase confidence that developed countries will, in fact, ramp up climate finance for developing countries to the promised level of $100 billion annually by 2020."

Harjeet Singh, international coordinator on adaptation from ActionAid International the demand of developing countries to include loss and damage as a separate element in the 2015 agreement had been heard. This came as Typhoon Hagiput prompted what has been reported as the the biggest peacetime mobilisation of people in the Philippines. 

However, Singh is concerned that some key elements on adaptation are still missing. 

“The text on the global goal for adaptation is very weak and needs to be improved,” says Singh. “Also, adaptation is not linked to rising temperatures which does not reflect the facts, so recently outlined by UNEP, that when global warming increases adaptation becomes much more difficult and costly. If you want to build confidence and ambition within this process we need more on loss and damage as well as  adaptation.” 

Ruth Davis, political advisor, for Greenpeace UK says the so-called elements text retained a number of options about how to ensure that the ultimate goal of the Paris agreement is to phase out fossil fuel pollution and get to zero carbon. “The text invites countries to consider what this would mean for their climate action plans over the long term,” Davis says.  And it contains proposals to drive investments away from fossil fuels and towards renewables and energy efficiency, and stopping public support for high carbon projects.”

She says these elements need to be captured and strengthened in the final Lima text if we want to see the political process here lining up with the events that are happening in the real world: hundreds of thousands of people around the world demanding climate action, countries like Germany showing you can quit coal and grow your economy, financial institutions like the Bank of England investigating the risks of high-carbon assets, and energy majors like E.ON turning their back on fossil fuels.  

 
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Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org

Contact:  Ria Voorhaar, CAN International in Lima on 963 961 813 or +49 157 3173 5568 or email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org,