December 13 – Whither Lima?

As the heat rises in the final official hours of the COP20 negotiations in Lima, the level of ambition appears to be dropping. The co-chairs of the ADP have spent the last 11 days of the negotiations compiling an uber inclusive, 50-page draft Lima decision text (the Decision Text), which included up to 16 options on key sections. If quantity reflected the quality, we would have had cause for cautious optimism. However, the most recent, 7-page, draft Decision Text (released late last night – text but available online at the time of writing, early Saturday morning) dashed almost all expectation that something of significance will result from Lima. Ah, c’est dommage, but there will always be Paris, Daahhhhhling…..

To say that the current Decision Text is modest, is well… more than a modest over-statement. But that has not stopped the Parties from expounding on many proposed changes as we sit in this 6th hour of an ADP Contact Group. The key substantive provisions that are being debated include:

The Preamble indicates that the Parties will be “guided by the Convention” and not operate under it.

  • Para 2 provides a list of what the Paris Agreement should include and refers to among other things “adaptation including loss and damage”. The US and a number of other Parties want to limit the considerations to what was agreed to in Doha.
  • Para 6 commits developed countries and “other Parties in a position to do so” to provide support for mitigation and adaptation action (notionally financial and technical) to Parties particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The G77, China and the Like Minded Developing Countries are generally opposed to this additional language.
  • Para 7 commits Parties to submit their INDCs with options that refer to the INDCs reflecting a “progression beyond the current undertaking” of the Party.
  • Para 9 is intended to stipulate the information that is included in each Party’s INDC and the options range from no stipulated information requirements to an attached annex requiring information on each and all of mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building, and fairness. G77 and China as well as the LMDC group are pushing for a differentiated approach based on the development status of the Party. The Umbrella Group is pushing for uniform and fairly detailed information to be filed with the INDC.
  • Para 11 contemplates a potential dialogue on filed INDCs to facilitate clarity and transparency.
  • Para 13 contemplates creating a Forum or a new mechanism to assess and potentially enhance progress in the pre-2020 period.

While no clear consensus had developed at the time of writing, there was clearly a lack of divisive rhetoric and an ethos of consensus building that was present in the plenary and unique when compared to other COP negotiations. Mexico was showing leadership and even Venezuela’s interventions were notably more conciliatory than its positions at and since Copenhagen. A certain camaraderie appears to be developing in Lima, that hopefully will carry the Parties into the City of Love, where real and significant progress must be made.

Elisabeth DeMarco, Norton Rose Fulbright

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