The Climate Change Conference in Lima paves the way for Paris 2015


The Climate Change Conference “COP20” took place on December 1-12 in Lima, Peru. Before the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015, COP20 is a crucial time to work on common policies to fight climate change.


For Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), COP20 needs to set a “clear draft of the universal agreement, a shared determination by all to deliver significant national contributions to build a low carbon resilient future, initial capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund, and the mobilisation of a broad coalition of actors turning potential into reality on the ground without delay. »

To understand the context of this 20th Climate Change Conference and the issues involved, it is important to visualise the international environment in which it came about (read our previous article here). There are 195 parties to the UNFCCC, which makes it a framework with near-universal membership. It is the parent treaty of the Kyoto Protocol, ratified by 192 members in 1997. As the UNFCCC says, “the ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.” The Climate Change Conferences are yearly events that bring together the parties to both treaties. They are held in order “to assess progress in dealing with climate change, and to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol, in order to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” to quote their Wikipedia page. At the end of each Conference, agreements are met and decisions are made to take the fight against climate change still further.

In Lima, the 195 countries participated in the COP20 to work on common policies to fight climate change. To define a guideline for 2020, all members discussed domestic action plans, prior to making a definite commitment in Paris next year. After the first round of the Green Climate Fund in Berlin involving pledges, many analysts hope Lima-COP20 will give a new direction to the fight against climate change.

Talks in Lima crucial for success in Paris

In Lima, the conclusion of the conference will address the main issues related to climate change and narrow down the options for tackling it. Why is the Lima Conference such an important step towards setting the next climate policies in the world? First, COP20 and COP21 will define the future commitments of member countries. Currently, precise climate policies are not planned for the coming years. Not all countries are in the same situation, nor do they face the same problems; they thus need to set their common goal for the future. In Lima, negotiators will speak with all the delegations to find a way to harmonise and organise all the policies for domestic action by 2020. Next year, in Paris, the COP21 will be the occasion for the parties to sign a new binding agreement. The preparatory work is coming to an end in Lima – which is why this Conference is so particularly important.

Lima is a crucial moment to reach a climate agreement in 2015. Together with all the players, the Presidency of COP20-CMP10 will lead the process and take action based on the principles of transparency and inclusiveness in order to build trust and confidence.

We have the considerable responsibility of facilitating a complex global negotiation process in a changing world, so we are focused on achieving realistic goals, building on mandates and recognising the process and players involved. Based on the sobering facts of science, we have an urgent need to raise the stakes and grasp the opportunity to work together in Lima, and thus change the world,” said H.E. Mr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of the Environment of Peru and President-Designate of COP 20 and CMP 10.

Signatories of the Kyoto Protocol are also meeting during COP20. The tenth Meeting of the Parties (CMP10) served to promote the ambitions of the Kyoto Protocol. Adopted in Kyoto on 11 December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol extends the 1992 UNFCCC binding State Parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are currently 192 parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which is based on the premise that global warming exists and man-made CO2 emissions have caused it.

After the last decision taken five years ago in Copenhagen to plan greenhouse gas reduction (COP15), not all countries around the world had set all the terms of their global warming plan for 2020 and 2050. They will do so in Paris, thanks to the work accomplished in Lima.

Photo @ Denis Burdin