Will Lima really end on a depressing note?

Will Lima really end on a depressing note?

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By saleem Shaikh

Profound differences between rich and poor developed and developing countries on how to divide the cost of coping with vagaries of climate change seem to have been blocking a climate agreement at the Lima summit, with a weak, compromised declaration now the likely the result.

Gloomy scene on Staurday afternoon is evident and prevails at the Lima COP20, with call by the President of COP 20 / CMP 10 Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, asking the delegates from over 194 countries to make Lima a stepping stone, a tipping point, a crucial moment.

But others gave different calls at the LIMA COP20 venue.

“Lima will not be judged a success because it agrees to an empty political statement – it’s the actual content that matters not just here in Lima but for success in Paris.” Meena Raman, negotiations expert at Third World Network.

But Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate, Friends of the Earth EWNI sounded a bit pessimist about the COP20 outcome.

He said, “If the text is accepted now there would be essentially no outcome for people and the planet. It would be the weakest of weak political statements. Accepting this text is a surrender to the lowest common denominator of the US Government and the fossil fuel industry behind it. This text cannot be allowed to advanced, if there is no time today it has to go to the February meeting.”

Harjeet Singh, Global lead for Resilience and Climate, ActionAid International, says the Lima text is be empty as far as deliverances by the rich nations for the poor and the vulnerable in the developing countries are concerned.

This text delivers basically nothing for the poor and vulnerable in developing countries. Rich countries are still failing to meet their obligations, even if they are making baby steps in the right direction. More exciting than the negotiations were the sheer number of impacted peoples marching in the streets in Lima and staging actions at the talks – the people who have the most to gain or lose from these talks, he said.

He asked, “How long will governments continue to ignore people’s demands?”

Till Friday when the delegates should have been out with a text agreeded upon it, the last day (Dec 12) of scheduled talks in Lima, 194 governments plus the European Union had fallen flat to agree on over a few sentences of the final resolution, making the hopes fade away that a climate summit in Paris in December 2015 can deliver a meaningful climate deal.

The deadlock, however, made the Lima conference run well into Saturday.

The best that can be hoped for is a compromise so weak that it will do little to combat climate change, one negotiator from South Africa told this scribe, who preferred not to be identified.

Key differences that keep the developed and developing countries divided are on how countries are classified appear as entrenched as ever, with major emitters and negotiating blocs adopting familiar positions, The Third Pole reported.

Prakash Javadekar, India’s Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, agreed.

“Differentiation (between rich and poor nations) must remain as it is.”

A mistrust at Lima has led to a fear about a weak outcome.

Just hours before the scheduled close of the conference, an alternate resolution appeared on the UNFCCC website, where it remained for few minutes before vanished suddenly.

All it managed to do was to renew accusations from some developing countries – most vocally Venezuela and Sudan – that rich nations were trying to do a backdoor deal, in breach of the UN principle of doing everything by consensus among all governments.

Such intrigue is a not a new happening at climate meetings, but has the potential to generate further ill will. This problem has also extended to what governments are prepared to tell one another about what they plan to do on their own to combat climate change – in UN-speak, Independent Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).

Developing countries want GHG emissions mitigation, adaptation to climate change effects, finance, technology and capacity building all included in a country’s INDC.

On the other hand, Industrialised countries want national plans to be limited to only mitigation.

Question arises that will Lima really end on a depressingly familiar note.

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About author

Saleem Shaikh

saleemzeal@gmail.com

The writer is a guest speaker on climate change and disaster reporting at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) – Islamabad. He is also a media trainer, freelance climate change and development science writer.