LIVE IN LIMA – DAY 11: UN COP20 climate change summit



Latest headlines
Talks into overtime, delegates hopeful deal can be struck
– Co-chairs release slimmed-down draft decision text

– No Lima climate deal better than bad one, say ‘like minded’ countries
– Pope Francis urges countries to overcome their differences

2120 – The talk is there’s a long night in store for negotiators. This is where we wrap up our coverage, in anticipation of an exciting day tomorrow. You can read Ed King’s take on the talks as they stand here.


2034 – I’ve been speaking to Tracy Carty from Oxfam International. Most people are busy thinking about the draft decision text, which will form the main outcome from Lima (probably), but she reminds me that there is also the text on “long term finance” to discuss.

Confusingly, this refers to the short term issue on how money will be scaled up between now and 2020. A decision on this will be placed before the COP later on, and has the potential to cause further arguments, as developing countries are concerned that there will not be enough clarity and certainty on how finance will be scaled up.

In the main text under discussion, the controversial element is in paragraph 6, that says parties in a position to do so will provide support for more emissions reductions, which opens the door to financial contributions from developing countries.

Many are opposed to this, although countries like Mexico and Peru have already chosen to contribute. “There is a possibility they might end up scrapping that text altogether,” she says.

2025 – I’ve just been speaking to Andres Pirazzoli, a negotiator for Chile, which acts as part of a progressive Latin American alliance called AILAC.

The sticky issues are still differentiation and finance, he says – the same two issues that were causing trouble at the beginning of the week.

“Frankly, I don’t see a lot of movement,” he says.

The group is currently consulting with the presidency and trying to figure out what aspects they are willing to let go. For them, the key thing is upfront information on how countries will reduce their emissions; they want lots of details on how this will be achieved.

Without this, Lima would be a failure, he says. But it comes with a catch. It’s attached to a commitment to provide further information on adaptation and finance, to which the EU and US are opposed.

2015 – Michael Jacobs, one-time climate change advisor to UK prime minister Gordon Brown, says an assessment of national pledges much be an essential part of any agreement in Lima. China and India are currently pushing back on this concept at talks. Jacobs says it will be hard to assess the success of the 2015 deal unless this is put in place…

It’s important that this process is not only about allowing countries to do what they want. It’s an accepted principle that countries must put forward their own contributions in ways that meet domestic needs. But there must be a way for the international community and public to assess what countries are doing to ensure sufficient effort globally.

We know that the sum total of national contributions is likely to fall short. There has to be a way of exposing that and encouraging countries to put more on the table. Civil society will do lots of assessments, but there’s something odd if everybody is asking about tomorrow’s effort – and the one place it’s not being discussed is in negotiations.

1846 – All parties have finished speaking in this particular session. The co-chairs will now report to the president, and the next session will be announced on the CCTV and the UN website.

1844 – Nigeria reminds the plenary that the deadline for the end of the UN climate conference has now passed.


1827 – Australia is awarded a Colossal Fossil by activist groups for being the most backwards country at this year’s UN climate conference.

1826 – Mali calls for a new paragraph that would lay out a roadmap on how to scale up finance to $100 billion dollars a year from 2020, with interim targets.

1810 – The Dominican Republic says this text does not reflect the differentiation between developed and developing countries. She would also like loss and damage to be considered as a separate issue, with the same emphasis as finance and other key pillars. She wants youth to be added as a list of experts that should be consulted. Smattering of applause for this one.

Bolivia adds: “We prefer not to put into the text issues related to REDD+ and market based approaches, because it really creates an imbalance in this text.”

1803 – We had some technical hitches earlier, when Megan Darby was in the plenary. Here is a round-up of the action from the first half hour.

Venezuela wanted to include a bit on creating quality jobs and a “just transition”. Delegation head Claudia Salerno cited the social pre-COP in Venezuela and the people’s climate march slogan “to change everything needs everyone”.

She was one of a number of developing countries to object to a line that hints that some emerging economies might contribute to support for the most vulnerable.

China has already launched a South-South cooperation fund, so this is happening, but they don’t want it to be formalised in the text.

The critical phrase is “developed country parties and other parties in a position to do so”. Nobody could explain what the second part meant, said Salerno.

The United Arab Emirates expressed optimism that there was agreement on five of the 17 paragraphs. It generally preferred all the light-touch options but showed willing to compromise, encouraging everyone to find middle ground.

Most interventions included detailed references to the text. Ecuador spoke softly and simply emphasised the need for finance. “This is not just a position or a statement.”

New Zealand rejected the call by Venezuela and others to limit finance obligations to developed countries. It also opposed adding references to differentiation between rich and poor countries.

1752 – Saudi Arabia emphasises that adaptation commitments need to be in the decision.

1738 – Mexico is a hard act to follow says the US. In terms of a review of country contributions, he say that it’s a fairly new idea. He would not want “fair” and “equitable” to both be included, and he’s prefer fair. But he wants an extra sentence in return: “represents the country’s best effort in light of its national circumstances”. The reason for that is we would like to see countries acting according to their capability, he says. “We would be concerned if this language gave parties their ability to do less than that.”

The question of loss and damage still requires work that will have to take place next year, he adds: if it were included in the agreement, there needs to be a discussion on how it relates to adaptation.

He is comfortable annexing the elements text for Paris to the decision here in Lima, he says, although they initially had some concerns.

1730 – The discussion here is not about differentiation is about opening doors to developing countries like Mexico, which want to participate as far as they can, says the  Mexico delegation lead. “We want to keep on trying to help and giving, because we want to show our commitment in that sense.” The door must be open to that, he says. He receives applause in the room.

1725 – Ghana supports the Philippines in including human rights and gender in the text.

1722 – The Solomon Islands favours a more scientific approach to the text. I spoke to the minister from St Lucia earlier, who said the same thing. This would give the INDCs “purpose and meaning” says the Solomon Islands. For small island states, the temperature limit is particularly urgent as 2C increase represents an existential threat as sea levels rise.

He also wants stronger language on finance. We need to be talking in “should”s not “maybe”s he says.

1713 – For those who have just dropped in, what countries are doing now is going through which of the options in the draft decision they would like to go forward in the final outcome. It can sound quite obtuse, but it’s fairly simple. There are three different controversial issues, and each has three different options laid out by the co-chairs.

NGOs earlier this morning described option 1 in each case as the least ambitious, option 3 as the most ambitious, and option 2 as somewhere in between.

1711 – Nicaragua does not want the elements text to be included in the draft decision. He is worried that this would give it too high a status in the negotiations.

1542 – President’s stocktaking has started, around 40 minutes late, which does not reflect too well on the sense of urgency among parties at this late stage in the game.

Co-chair Kishan Kumarsingh is giving the updates.

“There was great enthusiasm for parties and observers alike to attend the meeting and as a result of limitation of space parties requested we moved to somewhere more conducive to negotiations that would allow everyone to participate,” he says.

We have already begun by three ways, says Pulgar Vidal, who is now going to provide instructions going forward. Having observers as well as parties has created a good way to move the process, he says.

This is what will happen now. Parties have two more hours to express their opinion on the text. There are at least 20 countries left to speak. In the meantime, he personally will continue to meet with different countries and blocs in an attempt to prompt some movement.

“We are almost there. We just need to make a final effort. We will need to make political decisions. There are no reasons to stop this process and postpone our decisions,” he says.

The stocktaking closes, with a round of applause for Pulgar Vidal.

1535 – Australia is highly unlikely to meet its 5% emissions reduction (on 2000 levels) target by 2020, according to analysis by Climate Action Tracker. Instead, they find Australian emissions are likely to be 26% above 2000 levels in 2020 or when expressed against 1990, a 47-59% increase.

“It has become increasingly apparent that whenever Australia has talked of committing to reducing emissions, what it really means is that it will continue to increase emissions from fossil fuel and industry sources,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.

“Instead, it has hidden its emissions behind the Kyoto rules, most of which it has exerted considerable diplomatic effort over more than 15 years to secure in its favour.”

1529 – This is Sophie Yeo taking over. I’m in the plenary, waiting for the stocktaking to start when we hear how far countries have come since they started negotiating on the draft decision.

These things always take a while to start. In the meantime, we’ve heard that activists have led a push to get fossil fuel corporations and their lobbyists to get kicked out of the talks.

More than 53,000 people signed the petition, which was organised by, which was presented to the UN secretariat today.

“This process needs to hear the voices of the people, not polluters,” said Hoda Baraka from “The fossil fuel industry is actively lobbying against climate action and standing in the way of progress. When you’re trying to burn the table down, you don’t deserve a seat at it.”

1328 – A pithy summary of conditions in the negotiating room.

1323 – The oil price keeps dropping, with prices below US$60 a barrel in New York. This could spur higher consumption in the short term, pushing up emissions, but it also trashes the investment case for unconventional resources like tar sands, shale oil and Arctic drilling.

Earlier in the week, Maria van der Hoeven of the International Energy Agency said it offered a “golden opportunity” for policymakers to slash fossil fuel subsidies and put a price on carbon.

Mexico’s environment minister Guerra Abud said the cheap fuel bonanza could hold back renewable development.

But UN climate chief Christiana Figueres argued the volatility of fossil fuels showed it was time to shift to renewables, which have zero fuel costs.

(Pic: BP)

(Pic: BP)

1310 – In the great outside world, the European Commissions is slapping Poland with a €61,000 a day fine for failing to bring in laws to support renewable energy. Austria has been told it cannot shield heavy industry from the costs of its green energy, Euractiv reports.

Democracy Now seized this quote from Al Gore at the summit, comparing the Keystone XL oil pipeline to a heroin addict’s circulatory system. He said: “I’ve been opposed to it for a long time, and I think it’s a terrible idea.

“When, you know, junkies use veins in their toes when the ones in the arms and legs collapse, that’s my view of it.”

1252 – The Philippines is speaking up for human rights.

1238 – The Africa group welcomes the text, but wants assurances on differentiation – that is, lesser obligations on developing countries.

1228 – The draft text released this morning was “clearly an effort by the presidency and the co-chairs to find a way forward,” said Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The previous text had “ballooned to over 60 pages” he said, with parties expanding on differences rather than narrowing them down. The version we have now is a streamlined version.

The test will be whether it is accepted as a “landing ground that will be acceptable at the end of the week to all parties”.

The ministers of Norway and Singapore have been appointed to work with the co-chairs to try and negotiate an agreement, he said.

1226 – Bolivia says the text represents a transfer of responsibilities and the spirit of the convention is being “deleted”. In slightly more strident terms, it wants the same as China and India, to keep differentiation in the text.

Negotiators expect the talks to go on into tomorrow morning. With the exception of the EU offering to include adaptation in the national plans, we have not seen any concessions yet.

1220 – We’ve just received this from Minister Tony de Brum of the Marshall Islands, one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. It seems he is happy to accept the text as the basis of the decision coming out of Lima.

He backs the option to review national contributions before Paris, which has been rejected by China as too time-consuming.

De Brum says: “We can see a potential landing zone in the new text from the Co-Chairs. It is important we fight for the more ambitious options today. These include a process next year to analyze the targets countries put on the table before Paris, and steering towards 5-year commitment periods under the new agreement. Both are well within sight.

“We are shocked that some of our colleagues would want to avoid a process to hold their proposed targets up to the light. If they are at top end of their national potential, there should be nothing to hide. Without an assessment process, how else can the world’s most climate-vulnerable people trust that we are on track towards our below 1.5 or 2-degree goal? Do they expect us to go to Paris to sign an agreement that crosses the red line of our survival?”

1217 – China backs up India in wanting more references to “differentiation” in the text. China’s pledge to peak emissions around 2030 was seen by many as a move away from the rigid developed/developing split of the past. But in the negotiating chamber it is business as usual.

1214 – Australia wants to excise the one passing mention of “loss and damage” – compensation for vulnerable populations that cannot adapt to climate change, such as the Pacific island states threatened by sea level rise.

1211 – Sophie Yeo has been speaking to Annaka Peterson Carvalho from Oxfam America on what’s good and bad about finance in the draft text that parties may adopt today.

Previous incarnations of the text had a roadmap on how finance could be scaled to the US$100 billion per year promised every year from 2020. That’s missing now, she says.

“No one wants to commit to the roadmap,” she says. “We lost a lot of the ideas about providing clarity on the levels of finance that could be expected post 2020.”

But there is hope, she adds. Finance has been included as a possibility in the INDCs – some countries including the US and EU had been pushing for a mitigation-only approach.

Even if countries agree the most ambitious option in the text at the moment, she would not be happy, but it would be “livable”, she says.

1208 – Mexico backs the more ambitious options, including a review of how national contributions add up before Paris. It is sweltering in the plenary tent.

1205 – Saudi Arabia outright rejects paragraph 6, on the legal basis of the agreement, and calls for a spin-off discussion group.

In the rest of the text, it supports all the lightest-touch options.

COP20-Newsflash copy
1200 – A midday round-up: countries are giving their reactions to a new draft text that parachuted in last night. This aimed to condense a working text that had expanded to 50 pages, but may not satisfy everyone their views have been taken into account.

A powerful bloc of emerging economies, including China, are prepared to walk away with no deal rather than a bad one.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has urged countries to overcome their differences.

1156 – For India, the draft text is good but not good enough. It must include references to “common but differentiated responsibility” and equity.

This is still a major sticking point: developed countries want to see developing economies gradually shoulder some responsibility – as China did with its 2030 peak emissions pledge. But India is resistant to any move away from the division between “annex 1” (rich) and “non-annex 1” (poor) countries set two decades ago.

1151 – The European Union says INDCs must be about mitigation. They are willing to include adaptation, in a concession to developing countries, but draw the line at finance. “We hope this shows flexibility”.

Tuvalu says finance is essential. It can work with the new text, but does not support the EU view.

1146 – Meanwhile, Pope Francis has sent a message to Manuel Pulgar Vidal, Peru’s environment minister and president of these talks.

The leader of the Catholic church urged countries to overcome their differences and protect the planet.

“The time to find global solutions is running out,” he wrote.

1137 – The plenary session is due to start shortly. This is where we will find out exactly what countries think of the draft text that emerged last night.

To recap: the draft decision text had ballooned to 50 pages, as countries added an array of options without reaching any decisions. Then a much slimmed-down version, at four pages plus three pages of annexes, appeared. While this had the virtue of simplicity, it opened up the process to allegations of bias.

Delhi-based journalist Nitin Sethi reported developing country negotiators felt their concerns were being overridden.

As Ed King discovered, a powerful group of emerging economies are prepared to go home with no deal rather than accept an agreement that does not meet their interests.

1124 – The obligatory daily protest has started outside. Today it is a “die-in” for climate justice.

All demonstrations have been pre-approved by the UN. At yesterday’s youth rally on tar sands, complained it was “outrageous” they were not allowed to use the phrases “Keystone XL” or “Senator Kerry”.

John Kerry was in Lima briefly to urge all countries to take action on climate change. Meanwhile in the US, battle is raging over whether to build the Keystone XL pipeline to transport tar sands oil.

Protesters said Kerry must block such fossil fuel projects if he was to maintain credibility at the talks.

1110 – Sophie Yeo has been speaking to Stefan Schwager, a board member of the Green Climate Fund.

While most people here are busy fretting about the draft decision that needs to be adopted in Lima today, he is worried that the elements text – that will form the basis of the Paris deal – has been forgotten.

“You can’t expect at the conference in Paris you sort it all out,” he said, and that there needed to be more progress on the substance here.

1107 – Here’s an insight into what the various parties here in Lima want from these talks. The like minded development group of countries, made up of the likes of Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India and China are frequently described as “blockers”. It’s a matter of opinion, and many in this bloc say they are fighting for climate justice in the face of huge historical emissions from developed countries.

We’ve been handed a set of briefing notes from Thursday night outlining their position. What’s fascinating is that this group are willing to push back talks on this document until the next scheduled meeting in Geneva, early in 2015. That’s not a conclusion the UN or many other countries will be willing to countenance.

1103 – The EU has promised €15 million to help poor countries put together plans to limit their emissions growth. These help to promote renewable energy, public transport and sustainable agriculture in the developing world. Together with contributions from the UK, Germany and Denmark, this adds up to €85 million.

1035 – The G77, a group of more than 130 developing countries, took a leading role in last night’s negotiations, reports Risalat Khan, from Adopt a Negotiator.

But one of the lead one of the lead negotiators for the least developed countries expressed frustration that powerful economies inside the G77 and China were trying to secure the same kind of support meant for poorer and more vulnerable nations, he reports.

1023 – Oxfam’s Jan Kowalzig compared last night’s 50-page draft text extravaganza to a “choose your own adventure novel”.

This morning’s concise summary seems to have gone too far the other way, sacrificing the positions of many in a bid to simplify things.

Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid said it took the negotiations back to where they were last year in Warsaw.

“The latest text which countries are working on has been stripped down to its bare bones to accommodate the whims of the lowest common denominator. There is almost nothing here which countries can show for their work over the past year and they should feel embarrassed.”

Loss and damage, a top priority to the most vulnerable countries, has dropped out altogether.

1015 – World Bank top official Rachel Kyte is enthused by the side events, but not impressed with the new draft text.

1013 – The BASIC nations – Brazil, India, China and South Africa – met yesterday. This bloc of emerging economies can make or break a deal.

Ministers Edna Molewa, Xie Zhenhua, Prakash Javadekar and Izabella Teixeira (Pic: Brazil Government)

Ministers Edna Molewa, Xie Zhenhua, Prakash Javadekar and Izabella Teixeira
(Pic: Brazil Government)

0927 – It’s the last day – technically – of COP20, but talks are expected to stretch through the night.

Countries start work this morning with a new draft decision text on the table. This is basically the same as a text that was briefly released yesterday morning, and then mysteriously removed from the website after criticism from the developing country alliance called G77.

The text still contains three options for a review of the countries’ contributions to the new deal. One of these – the one favoured by many NGOs – includes an assessment of whether each contribution is “fair and equitable”, and requires a technical assessment of the aggregate impact of each pledge. This means everyone will know in advance of Paris next December how far the contributions are from limiting climate change to 2C.

The options for the intended nationally determined contributions – that is, what information parties will submit to the new deal – has been boiled down to one option. This is included in an annex, and requires a long list of upfront information requirements from all parties, regardless of whether they’re developed or developing.

Some parties won’t like this, as they want the information to be differentiated according to what stage of development they’re at. The compromise from rich countries, including the US, is that it also requires information to be provided on adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building. They had wanted these INDCs to be purely focused on how countries would reduce their emissions.

So it’s possible that no one will like it, and the annex will be rejected altogether. “My expectation is that we don’t have an annex, if I was a betting man,” said Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists. This would force countries to work off less formal guidelines, which will make it tricky for countries to assess how their contribution measure up against others.

Meanwhile, the draft elements text, which has taken a backseat throughout these negotiations, will be attached as an annex to today’s decision. This is the text that will form the basis of the outcome in Paris. Countries are likely to want the legal status of this annex clarified: so far it has been an informal working paper, but if today’s draft decision is passed by the COP, then it arguably takes on a more formal position in the talks.

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