Opinion / OP Rana

Fractured Lima deal to save the planet

By OP Rana (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-15 08:01

Few expected a breakthrough at the UN climate conference in Lima, and they were not wrong. Yet many would see the outcome at Lima as a good omen for a "historic" climate conference in Paris next year. They may have their reasons to think so, as many did after the 2007 Bali climate conference and the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks.

But what we have got in Lima is worse than even the fractured decisions at Bali and Copenhagen. That not even a fraction of the fractured decisions made at Bali and Copenhagen have been honored by the world economies, especially the advanced economies which are historically responsible for causing the most damage to the environment, is another matter to be dealt with on another occasion. For now, let it be known that the outcome at Lima could not have been different given the 12-day (nay 14-day) proceedings, which ended only on Sunday.

At Lima, the more than 190 UN member states agreed on the "building blocks" of a deal to fight climate change in 2015. That the developed world has had its way goes without saying. It is a free-for-all agreement, because the so-called pledges to reduce emissions, to be self-determined, should be submitted by the first quarter of 2015 by "those parties (countries) ready to do so". These pledges will be published on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website and assessed by the UNFCCC, which will also prepare a report by Nov 1, 2015, on their aggregate effect on the UN goal to curb global warming to 2 C over pre-industrial levels.

Now comes the more interesting part. The pledges need not include information on rich countries' planned financial help for developing countries, which the developing world had been demanding and which stretched the climate talks into the 14th day. And despite demands by countries most at risk from global warming, especially island nations, there is no text on a process to increase the pledges if their combined effect remains wanting.

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