Sunday 15th of December the yearly UN Climate Conference in Lima finished, two days late, with a deal between all 194 represented nations. For the first time in history, an agreement has been reached that commits every nation to reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions. The deal outlines the framework which will be the core of the necessary deal to take serious global action, to be agreed upon during the climate top in Paris in December 2015.
An interesting change is that the text works toward a new division of countries, which was now simply “rich” or “poor”. The difficulties during climate negotiations over the last years rooted in disagreement between those “rich” and “poor” countries, the latter believing the first needed to do much more efforts. Yet big polluters like China and India, still classified as “poor”, certainly have to do major efforts in reducing their emissions. It is clear a more thoughtful classification was necessary. Also a promise of a loss and damage program to help poor countries to cope with the financial implications of climate change was made.
Still, many decisions have been postponed (again) and no big steps to stay below the accepted two-degree warming level have been made. Many NGO’s warned the results are dangerously poor, or as Sam Smith, the chief of climate policy of WWF, said: “The text went from weak to weaker to weakest and it’s very weak indeed.” The text is criticized to have weakened the pledges on nations, for example the use of clear and transparent timetables and baseline years is still not required.
In the end, the results are rather poor, although the climate conference started with very good vibes two weeks earlier after the EU, the US and China took important steps forward in their action on climate change earlier this fall. Everyone is hoping for a breakthrough in the Paris 2015 Climate Top, although is will not be “a walk in the park” as UK climate change minister Ed Davey said. Yet, not everyone is pessimistic. Not very bold, the agreement is still historical because for the first time all the present nations promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions. There’s still hope.
Want to know more about the deal? Read the IPCC press release.