LIVE IN LIMA – DAY 10: UN COP20 climate change summit



– US secretary of state John Kerry says all must act on climate
– Denmark minister: slow UN progress could damage EU action
– IPCC chief Pachauri: 30 years before carbon budget is blown
– China official hints at Lima deal by Saturday
– Oil prices crash below $65 

2242 – With under 24 hours to go until the Lima meeting is scheduled to end, talks are in a state of flux. Earlier this evening the president of the Lima talks, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, offered some sharp words to negotiators. His job was to get an outcome he said, and would take control. But having asked for a new draft agreement to be delivered at 9pm, none arrived, leaving tired delegates frustrated. That’s it for today’s live coverage. Tomorrow is likely to be interesting.


1838 – There’s been lots of talk – but no real answers – today concerning the subject of the disappearing text. A negotiating paper was uploaded today onto the UN’s website, and swiftly removed, leaving observers baffled as to its status in the talks.

Here’s the leaked version of the text:

Leaked secret Lima draft decision text by nitin sethi

Send your conspiracy theories as to what it all means to @rtcc_sophie.

1822 – Saudi Arabia’s chief negotiator Khalid Abuleif has told RTCC why it does not think that it will be possible to reduce emissions to zero by 2050, which remains an option in the draft text.

“We really don’t think it’s realistic at this stage with the current technology and current economic model base we have.

“When you have zero emissions you are sending signals that are not really beneficial to the process if you do not have solid programmes for transfer of technology and finance that can accomplish such goal.

“Climate change efforts and ambitions are driven by sustainable economic growth. Energy market stability is a prerequisite for international economic growth; therefore, what we’re really looking for here is stability for the energy market. That means we have three major players that need to be satisfied: consumers, producers and investors.

“As long as these three players are in equilibrium and they are happy and working together, I think we will have a stable energy market, and hence ambitious climate efforts in both adaptation and mitigation.”

1818 – Ed King, who has been wandering the halls of the venue, just sent over this:

Amid all the drama of a ballooning text, and allegations of a leaked text, we understand work is going on quietly behind the scenes. The Peruvian presidency is working on an agreement with ministers, who have the political clout to make decisions, something negotiators do not. For veteran observers of these conferences, this is fairly relaxed stuff. The Peruvian presidency has worked hard to gain all parties’ trust. It’s facing a tough test now, and we’ll see in 24-48 hours what it has pulled off.

1805 – Tony de Brum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, said he had been encouraged by some of the recent actions of Australia, and says he has invited Julie Bishop, his counterpart, to see the islands .”I think there is some movement in that relationship,” he said.

But China’s role in the talks has surprised him after their recent announcement alongside the US. “I thought they would not be as stern as they used to be in the past. They are still trying to define differentiation at this late stage.”

He also said that Saudi Arabia’s stance that they should be compensated for their loss of oil revenues was not valid, and that they should be investing in alternative sources of energy. But, he said, “Their stance is changing.”

1753 – China does not want to see a review of national plans before Paris next year, according to deputy delegation head Liu Zhenmin.

The idea has been floated as a way to check how the contributions add up towards the target of limiting temperature rise to 2C.

“We do not think that would be a good approach,” said Liu. “Nobody knows how long will be the process.”

Asked about the slow pace of the negotiations, Liu said it was common to make decisions at the last minute

1627 – Ed has been interviewing Daniel Ortega Pacheo, Ecuador’s lead climate negotiator.

Pacheo said the essential in Lima was to agree what to put into national plans, known as INDCs:

“We will not leave Lima without the INDCs. If we have a text on INDCs we may be able to do it, there can be a package.”

“We are not in an environmental debate but a political debate. After Copenhagen there was a loss of momentum and trust – the contribution of Lima is to have leveled the field and trust.

“Peru has made a great contribution in opening dialogue where doors were closed, especially around finance and measuring, reporting and verification, and it’s something we’re grateful for.”

COP20-Newsflash copy

1601 – US secretary of state John Kerry has just delivered a strong speech on climate change, where he called on all countries – not just the historical polluters – to do their bit to reduce their emissions.

“The fact is we simply don’t have time to go back and forwards about whose responsibility is is to act,” he said. More than half of the world’s emissions now come from developing nations, and even if the US reduced its emissions to zero it would not be enough to avert dangerous climate change, he said.

How responsibility should be split between the rich and poor has been one of the most heated debates here in Lima. Kerry said that he was “confident” that delegates would be able to rise above it.

He pointed out that the US and China have already been able to put aside their differences and find common ground, compared to 10 to 15 years ago, when he remembers “discussions that went nowhere”.

And the deal that countries are discussing here in Lima, while not a silver bullet, is key: “It is not an option; it’s an urgent necessity,” he said.

1335 – I’ve just been speaking to Danish climate minister Rasmus Helveg Petersen. Sitting beneath the trees in the Lima conference venue, he looked calm – but in reality he is “irritated” and “frustrated” he says.

The text is bloated, and the EU has not received the recognition it deserves for its 40% emissions cutting target by 2030, nor for its contributions to the Green Climate Fund, he says.

Both were a struggle, and “we feel that it has not been sufficiently rewarded by progress in the negotiations”.

This makes his job more difficult back in Denmark, he says: if EU leadership is not recognised and rewarded on the international stage, then it becomes difficult to persuade people that they should be making the extra effort at home. “There is no point in leading if you can’t make others follow.”

And if countries don’t begin to recognise the EU’s efforts? “Then we have a disaster,” he says.

1221 – The official count for the Green Climate Fund is now $10.2 billion, which has been contributed by 27 countries, says its executive director Hela Cheikhrouhou.

But she says there needs to be a a lot of work between now and Paris to turn these pledges into actual contributions. This means signing a “contribution agreement”.

Some countries are on the road to doing this – she says she signed over the first tranche of the Danish contribution yesterday.

There has been concern expressed by parties how finance will be scaled up to the billions needed. Rich countries have promised to provide $100 billion every year from 2020, some of which will be through the Green Climate Fund.

“As we demonstrate this fund is working well on the ground and making a difference, these can be scaled on a long term basis,” said Cheikhrouhou.

1145 – Just in, we’ve had Yvo de Boer, ex UN climate chief at the TV studio. Here’s his assessment of the talks so far…

“We’re now at a stage where there is a negotiating text on the table, where everyone is tipping their ideas into the text. It will get longer every second the clock ticks, and the risk is you leave this conference with a document that is several hundred pages long. The main challenge for the French is – in a long document – to identify the four or five key issues that politicians will really need to focus on in order to unblock the logjam.”

1139 – France’s foreign minster Laurent Fabius says Paris deal will not just be work of governments, but calls for a far wider push. “We are going to need an agenda of solutions” he says. You can read more about France’s plans for Paris here – the country has a huge delegation here and is engaging in ambitious behind-the-scenes talks.

1129 – Away from the high level speeches, there are some interesting side events taking place. Gao Feng, a senior Chinese climate change official in the Foreign Ministry has been addressing reporters. Highlights courtesy of Lisa Friedman from the DC based Climatewire.

1118 – Felipe Calderon is still speaking. He says $90 trillion of investment is needed in energy, cities and land use over the coming decade. Leaders should also phase out subsidies for fossil fuels and stop city “sprawl”.

He’s now pouring with sweat under the lights of the podium – it’s incredibly hot in the main plenary area (as it is in most parts of the venue).

“We must stop all funding for coal power. You have a choice, either we stay in this unsustainable path, or we go towards greater economic dynamism. The world is looking to you to lead us to the new climate economy.”


1116 – Away from these talks, check out the price of oil, falling below $65 for the first time in 5 years. Here’s some useful analysis from the FT

“It worsened the already bearish outlook for oil, which has fallen 43 per cent since mid-June. Brent, the international benchmark, fell as much as 4.9 per cent to $63.56, the lowest level since July 2009. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, also fell after US crude stocks unexpectedly rose.”

1115 – Next up in this morning high level segment, it’s former Mexico president Felipe Calderon. “Why if the evidence is so clear, if the level of sea is rising, if it is evident for anyone the extreme events we are watching why we are not taking action now?” he says.

Calderon says the New Climate Economy report, which he chaired and was published in September proves that the economic case for action is compelling. “Is it true we need to choose between economic growth and climate risk? This is a false dilemma. Yes, it is possible to tackle climate change and at the same time get economic growth. We can reduce climate risk and get the jobs that we need. Thanks to technology we can afford renewable energy at the lowest prices available”


1110 – Pachauri ends his speech with a warning over the carbon dioxide budget – that is the amount that scientists say can be safely emitted. On the current rate of emissions they say there are about 30 years left before this runs out. “Whatever commitments we made will obviously erode the space we have for CO2 emissions. We are all on spaceship earth, sharing this space of 1000GT for CO2.”

1100 – The UN’s chief climate scientist, Dr Rajendra Pachauri has warned delegates that they face “irreversible” damages if warming continues. He cites sea level rise as a major threat. “It is for us to see where on ethical equitable and scientific grounds we want to limit temperature increases in the future. To create a secure, safe and better world we cannot think about going above 2C.” This is all fairly well-known stuff published in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest study, released in November. If there’s a government delegation that doesn’t know most of these figures, I’d be surprised.

1055 – Ban Ki moon is speaking at the main plenary at the Lima summit. “We cannot let our planet down, we need ambitious leadership” he says, in what are becoming increasingly predictable speeches from the UN chief, urging leaders to do more.

Ban Ki Moon

1045 – Live coverage, internet permitting, starts now.  A new ‘decision text’ for the Lima meeting is now out. It is 50 pages long and growing. The part dealing with the commitments countries could make to a global climate deal – due by March 2015 – is massive. France’s climate chief Laurence Tubiana has admitted these talks may not offer clarity on how the commitments will be presented.

“Some issues will not be resolved here, but it’s fair enough, if they are too big it’s about changing the real ambition of the whole world. But we can have clarity,” she said. “On the elements text I think we will have a draft, and I think it will be reasonable enough so we can negotiate effectively on February 8.” – read the full story here.

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