DUMP START

Why the Lima COP is a step back­wards in avert­ing cli­mate

Down to Earth - - FRONT PAGE - CHAN­DRA BHUSHAN

early hours of De­cem­ber N THE 13, as I was leav­ing San Borja in Lima, the venue of the 20th Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties (cop) of the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (unfccc), the ne­go­tia­tors from 195 coun­tries had just been handed over a draft text from the co-chairs for con­sid­er­a­tion. Twenty-four hours later,by the time my flight landed in Am­s­ter­dam,the deal was done and the fi­nal text was out. The text, ti­tled Lima Call to Cli­mate Ac­tion, this time was from the pres­i­dent of the cop.

In the last 24 hours of the Lima talks, co-chairs were side­lined, their draft de­ci­sion was re­jected, and the cop pres­i­dent Manuel Pul­gar-Vi­dal, who is also Peru’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, was asked by the Par­ties to pre­pare a new text, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the views of dif­fer­ent groups of coun­tries.Ul­ti­mately,the Par­ties ac­cepted the text pro­posed by the pres­i­dent.

In be­tween the pre­sen­ta­tion of the two texts—one by the co-chairs and the other by the cop pres­i­dent—both de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries made com­pro­mises. They al­ways do.But the ques­tion is who ben­e­fited and who lost from th­ese com­pro­mises? Will th­ese com­pro­mises help achieve an ef­fec­tive cli­mate deal in Paris in 2015?

For the sake of clar­ity, Lima Call to Cli­mate Ac­tion does not prom­ise any new com­mit­ment from the Par­ties ei­ther on emis­sions cuts or on fi­nance and tech­nol­ogy trans­fer.It is noth­ing more than a tem­plate for the Par­ties to con­tinue their ne­go­ti­a­tions at Paris, where a new global deal on cli­mate change is to be signed to re­place the ex­ist­ing Ky­oto Pro­to­col from 2020.

Dis­sen­sion galore

From day one of the Lima talks, the fight was on In­tended Na­tion­ally Determined Con­tri­bu­tions (indcs)—cli­mate ac­tion plans that coun­tries have agreed to sub­mit be­fore the Paris meet­ing. Lima cop was to fi­nalise the kind of in­for­ma­tion that Par­ties

should sub­mit on indcs so that their con­tri­bu­tions could be com­pared and eval­u­ated. The fight was on what all will go into the in­for­ma­tion and how the in­for­ma­tion would be used.(See ‘The Lima di­ary’on p30.)

De­vel­oped coun­tries in­sisted that indcs were only about emis­sions cuts, or mit­i­ga­tion. De­vel­op­ing coun­tries, on the other hand, wanted indcs to in­clude ac­tions they would take in adapt­ing to the chang­ing cli­mate as well as fi­nance and tech­nol­ogy sup­port they would need from de­vel­oped coun­tries to un­der­take mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion. De­vel­op­ing coun­tries also wanted the Lima text to re­flect their de­sire to have strong com­mit­ments on “loss and dam­age”in Paris.

At the 19th Cli­mate Con­fer­ence in War­saw in 2013, Par­ties had agreed to es­tab­lish an in­ter­na­tional mech­a­nism for “loss and dam­age”to help vul­ner­a­ble de­vel­op­ing coun­tries cope with im­pacts of cli­mate change,such as ex­treme weather events.How­ever,as per the War­saw de­ci­sions, the dis­cus­sion is sched­uled to take place in 2016, a year af­ter the Paris agree­ment. De­vel­op­ing coun­tries, mainly the least de­vel­oped and small is­land na­tions, how­ever, want stronger com­mit­ments, es­pe­cially fi­nan­cial, in Paris for loss and dam­age. They did not want this de­ci­sion to be left for 2016 and,there­fore, wanted the Lima text to re­flect this.

This fight over what would go into indcs took an ugly turn and al­most derailed the talks in Lima. De­vel­op­ing coun­tries ac­cused the co-chairs— Ar­tur Runge-Met­zger from Ger­many and Kis­han Ku­mars­ingh fromTrinidad and Tobago—of par­ti­san­ship and do­ing the bid­ding of the de­vel­oped coun­tries, es­pe­cially the mem­bers of the Euro­pean Union.

There were other is­sues in indcs as well. The vex­ing is­sue was re­lated to the ex-ante re­view of indcs.The EU had pro­posed that well be­fore the Paris cop,coun­tries should sub­mit their indcs, which should be for­mally re­viewed for eq­uity and am­bi­tion. It also wanted a re­view of how all indcs add up to meet the goal of lim­it­ing global warm­ing to less than 2oC.

In the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond week it­self, In­dia made it clear that it did not want any re­view of indcs as it feared that such a re­view would be an un­nec­es­sary in­tru­sion into its “na­tional sovereignty”. In sim­ple terms, In­dia con­sid­ers indcs as do­mes­tic pledges and does not want any­one to say whether its pledges are eq­ui­table or am­bi­tious or not. In­dia was sup­ported by the Like Minded De­vel­op­ing Coun­tries (lmdc)—a group that in­cludes de­vel­op­ing coun­tries as var­ied as Bo­livia,Saudi Ara­bia and China.

The US also de­sired such a po­si­tion.So none of the big pol­luters, ex­cept the EU, had any in­ter­est in the ex-ante re­view of indcs.

Ac­tivists demon­strate

at Lima for emis­sion cuts

OX­FAM

Del­e­gates scram­ble for a copy of the re­vised

ADP text

PHO­TO­GRAPHS: AR­JUNA SRINIDHI / CSE

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