Climate delegates from around the world had two weeks to iron out a preliminary deal in Lima, but needed an extra thirty hours of haggling to produce something for their efforts. Despite the last-minute conclusion of the deal, the mood coming out of Lima is hardly optimistic. The FT reports:
“If so much blood flows negotiating the prenuptial, what does that mean for the marriage?” asked Yvo de Boer, a former UN climate chief who heads the Global Green Growth Institute that helps developing nations. […]Eleven days into the talks, delegates had only managed to agree one 28-word paragraph for the final text of the conference outcome. It said countries should “intensify their high-level engagement” to accelerate action on climate change.
Now that the dust has settled, all eyes are turning to next year’s meeting in Paris. But it’s worth noting that the Lima summit, coming on the heels of the joint U.S. and China emissions pledges last month, still ran into the same issues that have plagued these Global Climate Treaty negotiations in the past: namely, disagreement between the developed and developing world over who is at fault, and who ought to do what going forward.Poorer countries managed to dilute this year’s agreement, making the inclusion of quantifiable emissions information in each country’s so-called Individually Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) optional instead of mandatory. These INDCs are intended to work as a kind of naming and shaming technique, as every country will have to report on its emissions reductions goals, but the exclusion of any mandatory transparency behind these self-reported numbers significantly waters down their efficacy.Green groups are already voicing their disappointment. 350.org spokesperson Jamie Henn said that “[n]egotiators failed to build on the momentum coming into these talks,” while the World Wildlife Foundation’s Samantha Smith complained that “governments at the UN climate talks in Lima opted for a half-baked plan to cut emissions.”These summits have become the diplomatic equivalent of banging one’s head against the wall, and frustration is building among interested parties. Delegates may sign some agreement in Paris next year, but lacking any enforcement mechanisms (as looks overwhelmingly likely to be the case), any such deal will be the environmentalists’ equivalent of the Kellogg-Briand pact.