Deal reached at UN climate talks in Peru

2014-12-14 10:09
Delegates attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. (Juan Karita, AP)

Delegates attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. (Juan Karita, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lima - After late-night wrangling at UN talks in Peru, negotiators early on Sunday reached a watered-down deal that sets the stage for a global climate pact in Paris next year.

The Lima agreement was adopted hours after a previous draft was rejected by developing countries who accused rich nations of shirking their responsibilities to fight global warming and pay for its impacts.

Peru's environment minister presented a new, fourth draft just before midnight and said he hoped it would satisfy all parties, giving a sharply reduced body of remaining delegates an hour to review it.

"As a text it's not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties," said the minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who was the conference chair and had spent all afternoon and evening meeting separately with delegations.

The main goal for the two-week session in Lima was relatively modest: Reach agreement on what information should go into the pledges that countries submit for a global climate pact expected to be adopted next year in Paris.

But even that became complicated as several developing nations rebelled against a draft decision they said blurred the distinction between what rich and poor countries can be expected to do.

The final draft apparently alleviated those concerns with language saying countries have "common but differentiated responsibilities" to deal with global warming.

Impacts

It also restored language demanded by small island states at risk of being flooded by rising seas, mentioning a "loss and damage" mechanism agreed upon in last year's talks in Poland.

"We need a permanent arrangement to help the poorest of the world," Ian Fry, negotiator for the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, said at a midday session.

However, it weakened language on the content of the pledges, saying they "may" instead of "shall" include quantifiable information showing how countries intend to meet their emissions targets.

Also, top carbon polluter China and other major developing countries opposed plans for a review process that would allow the pledges to be compared against one another before Paris.

The new draft mentioned only that all pledges would be reviewed a month ahead Paris to assess their combined effect on climate change.

Though negotiating tactics always play a role, virtually all disputes in the UN talks reflect a wider issue of how to divide the burden of fixing the planetary warming that scientists say results from human activity, primarily the burning of oil, coal and natural gas.

The momentum from last month's joint US-China deal on emissions targets faded quickly in Lima as rifts reopened over who should do what to fight the problem.

Historically, Western nations are the biggest emitters. Currently, most CO2 emissions are coming from developing countries as they grow their economies and lift millions of people out of poverty.

During a brief stop in Lima on Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said fixing the problem was "everyone's responsibility, because it's the net amount of carbon that matters, not each country's share."

According to the UN's scientific panel on climate change, the world can pump out no more than about 1 trillion tons of carbon to have a likely chance of avoiding dangerous levels of warming. It already has spent more than half of that carbon budget as emissions continue to rise, driven by growth in China and other emerging economies.

Scientific reports say climate impacts are already happening and include rising sea levels, intensifying heat waves and shifts in weather patterns causing floods in some areas and droughts in others.

The UN weather agency said last week that 2014 could become the hottest year on record.

Read more on:    un  |  john kerry  |  peru  |  climate change

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.