BRIEFING: Details on key agreements reached at the UN’s COP20 climate change conference in Peru
– Countries “ready to do so” should submit their “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) comprised of projected greenhouse gas emission cuts by March 2015. These should be “beyond the current undertaking” of that party, and for those so inclined can also include plans to address future climate impacts. These will be published on the UN climate body’s website. Smaller economies are expected to send their INDCs by June 2015.
– Who does what? The onus is still on historically wealthy countries to take action first, but the lines between developed and developing have been blurred. A 2015 agreement should be built on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, says the text, but this should be “in light of respective capabilities”. It’s a key line which the US and China were both happy with, and it could compel countries like Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, which all have high per capita GDP rates, to take more action.
– Up front information. This relates to the data, analysis and methodologies that various countries will use when submitting their INDCs. For instance, are they including offsets in the figures, and what sectors are they expecting to cut emissions from? The list impossible reference points is included but the wording was changed from “shall include” to “may include” at the behest of India and China. EU officials are confident most if not all of the G20 countries will offer comprehensive data to back their climate plans, but it’s not compulsory.
– Assessment of pledges. This is another area slightly weaker than in earlier version of the Lima Call for Climate Action. What has been agreed is that the UN will prepare a synthesis report on the “aggregate effect” of contributions, due by November 1, a month before the 2015 Paris summit is set to start. How this report will be compiled is unclear, although the UN Environment Programme releases its ’emissions gap’ study at a similar point every year, so it’s possible this could be what the text is referring to.
– Loss and damage. At the behest of developing countries this is in the preamble at the start of the decision text. It’s significant in the sense that it’s still on the table and visible. A planned review of UN efforts to develop a mechanism to deal with climate compensation will take place on 2016.
– Finance. The text “urges” developed countries to offer “enhanced” financial support to developing countries, especially those vulnerable to extreme weather events. It also “recognises” support from developing countries – like Mexico, Peru, Panama and Mongolia who all gave money to the Green Climate Fund. But it doesn’t do much more than that, and it’s still unclear where the promised US$100 billion by 2020 for green investment in the Global South will come from
– A 37-page list of options that will form the basis of whatever is agreed in Paris next year has been added to the back of the LCCA. One set of options ranges from a “net zero” goal for carbon emissions in 2050 to a line calling for greenhouse gas emissions to peak “as soon as possible”. Other ideas include a tax on oil exports from developing to developed countries, and the establishment of an international renewable energy and energy efficiency bond facility.
– Not much progress here in a document branded “weak” by observers. It “further calls” on developed countries to offer more public funds to adaptation facilities and calls on all parties to make their “enabling environments” for climate finance more transparent and open. But no new figures as such.
– New in Lima, this encourages governments to “develop education strategies that incorporate the issue of climate change in curricula”. It also recommends countries include climate change “awareness raising” in their national development strategies.
– The UN launched the ‘Nazca’ portal in Lima, a “non-state actor zone” for climate action. It’s early days, but there are hopes that as business, cities and civil society send in their actions this will develop into a valuable data source, perhaps becoming one small element of any agreement reached in Paris.
For a full list of all decisions reached at the 20th Conference of the Parties in Lima, Peru click here.