Lima climate talks fall short, making 2015 breakthrough less likely

Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:10am EST
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LIMA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lack of real progress at a climate conference in Lima that ended in the early hours of Sunday morning harms the chances of reaching a global agreement next year that effectively curbs climate change and deals with its impacts, experts said.

Countries are meant to reach an agreement on how to deal with climate change beyond 2020 at a meeting in Paris at the end of 2015. A deal would impact global energy, transport and development policy for decades to come.

Lima had a straightforward agenda: agree the scope and schedule for the Paris agreement.

But countries split on both big fundamentals and many of the details of a future agreement, and the meeting ended with a far more modest agenda than many had hoped for.

Developing countries fear any agreement that will require them to set ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions, arguing that this is unfair because they should be allowed to develop.

Rich countries, who have produced most of the world’s climate-changing emissions so far, say it is now time for everyone to help.

The final decision in Lima, reached after negotiations overran their two-week schedule by more than 30 hours, watered down an earlier version, deleting any review of country pledges which would have made them more rigorous.

It also deleted a technical review of financial support for developing countries.

Developing countries insisted on an explicit reference to the differences between them and the developed world, shooting down an earlier suggestion that some poorer countries should take on much bigger responsibilities for limiting emissions.   Continued...

Delegates talk during a plenary session of the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP 20 in Lima December 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil