December 1 – Setting the Scene

COP20 in Lima is finally here. The conference centre has been constructed in short time and Peru is preparing to welcome delegates from around the world.

COP20 is a pivotal meeting. Since Durban in 2011, preparations have been moving forward to complete a global climate change agreement in Paris in December 2015. The Lima talks are a step in that direction, but will have to increase the momentum and important decisions need to be taken. In doing so, most are looking to Lima to build constructively on the outcome of the September Ban Ki-moon summit, the recent announcement of the EU’s 2030 target and the US-China wide-reaching climate change agreement.

The negotiating meetings under the snappily-named Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) have been slow, enabling nations to articulate and better understand each other’s positions and look for a route forward. Nobody doubts where the process must end: an ambitious agreement that starts global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions led by developed and emerging economies. The question is the route to get there.

What should you look for in Lima?

A number of important outcomes are expected from Lima. The ADP co-Chairs have issued a paper of “proposed elements” for the Paris deal. These will be subjected to analysis and debate by all the governments present. We may see updated versions of this paper during the two weeks, leading to, if one is very optimistic, a first draft negotiating text for the 2015 Agreement.

Governments will also be discussing what should be in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), questions such as should they cover only mitigation, mitigation and adaptation or all the Means of Implementation (MoI – finance, technology, capacity building). Further questions such as how the INDCs should be reviewed and by whom will be asked – and hopefully answered. A draft decision on this has already been discussed, at the last meeting in October.

For IETA, we can hope for progress on the Framework for Various Approaches (IETA’s submission to the UNFCCC on this can be seen online), an important way of establishing markets within the future agreement. Further detailed discussion on how to open the new agreement to market and private sector investment will come though side events and groups discussing the recently-released IETA/Harvard report on linkages. Last but not least will be the finalisation of the review of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), anticipated to make it an important tool in encouraging emission reductions in the future. Keep up to date by following progress through the IETA COP20 page.

What will I personally be expecting in Lima?

Good food, good wine (if there is time between all the meetings (especially IETA ones, of course)). Friendly helpful people and a historical city to visit (a lot to see on the one “free” day). But more, a momentum to succeed, driven by an informed Peruvian Presidency and government delegates that realise that COP21 in Paris is just around the corner and that the world is watching.

Nick Campbell, Arkema 

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