Despite brouhaha, Lima climate talks really a flop

23 Dec 2014


After nearly a fortnight of prolonged talk - some of it acrimonious - there was little to take home from the Lima climate summit, say most of the post-event analyses.

The talks made no one happy except perhaps the developed world, which managed to avoid making any financial commitments in the Lima Call for Climate Action.

The talks come 22 years after the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and five assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC);  the last report of the IPCC perhaps being the most conclusive on human impacts on climate change.

As the talks were going nowhere, Peru's environment minister and president of the Conference of the Parties (COP) Manuel Pulgar-Vidal was called on to lead the consultations a day before the conference ended.

Earlier, he had made a strong emotional appeal for consensus which received sustained applause from countries which had gathered there to further a new treaty in Paris and decide the scope of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

After nearly 10 days of negotiations which the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, described as ''exceedingly slow'', the seven-page text which emerged on 18 December was pulled out after protests, forcing Vidal to call for a new text.

In the first week, the process of going through the text and making additions was finally accepted by the two co-chairs of the ad hoc working group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). With countries making many additions, the text almost reached 60 pages.

But, in the lean seven-page version that was later revised more than once, most of the additions were left out.

Vidal later apologised for introducing a new brief text on 12 December without consultation, which angered developing country blocks. After a flurry of revisions, the final text or the Lima Call for Climate Action which was agreed upon seemed to be more the result of a need for some bare consensus to get ahead, and was low on commitment and ambition.

The final text only ''underscores'' its 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''. It also ''urges'' developed countries to provide and mobilise enhanced financial support to developing countries for ambitious mitigation and adaptation actions.

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