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Friday, July 20, 2018

Express in Lima: Little progress on achieving pre-2020 targets

Science is clear on what needs to be done and the negotiations do not seem to reflect that' — Tasneem Essop of WWF

Written by Amitabh Sinha | Lima | Updated: December 12, 2014 10:47:38 am
File Photo: Energized by new targets set by China and the United States, the world’s top climate polluters, U.N. global warming talks resume Dec. 1, 2014 in Peru (Source: AP) File Photo: Energized by new targets set by China and the United States, the world’s top climate polluters, U.N. global warming talks resume Dec. 1, 2014 in Peru (Source: AP)

As countries negotiate a global climate agreement that will come into effect from 2020, there is a growing unease in Lima over the fact that there is little discussion on what is going to happen in the five years before 2020.

The Kyoto Protocol is supposed to run till 2020, in what is known as its second commitment period, after which the new agreement currently being negotiated, and hopefully finalised at the Paris climate meeting next year, will take over.

Developed countries had agreed at the Doha meeting of 2012 to increase their climate actions in the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, and undertake greater emission reduction targets in order to close the emission gap.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2020 if hopes of keeping the average global temperature rise below 2 degrees from 1850 baseline has to be kept alive. For this, the rich and industrialised countries as a group needed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 to 40 per cent on a 1990 baseline. The current targets fall woefully short of that goal.

Developing countries and climate activists at Lima said they are extremely disappointed to see that despite the urgency there has been absolutely no talk in Lima on increasing the level of ambition of pre-2020 targets.

“Negotiators still do not seem to recognise that what we are dealing with in these negotiations is about a real planetary emergency. Science is clear on what needs to be done and the negotiations do not seem to reflect that,” Tasneem Essop of WWF said.

On Friday, EU and Australia strongly resisted a proposal by developing countries to form a ‘contact group’ — a small group of negotiators — to expedite the discussions on enhancing emission reduction targets under Kyoto Protocol for the developed countries for the pre-2020 period. These countries also managed to delete the references relating to increase in ambition of pre-2020 targets in a negotiating text, arguing that it had already been covered in the decisions reached at the previous climate meeting in Warsaw.

“These are disturbing developments. It is clear that it is not enough to negotiate emission reductions only for the future. We need action and we need them now. Every prolongation is a waste of time and it is taking us down a very dangerous path. I would call on the European Union and the other developed countries not to take baby steps. It is time to take very bold steps,” Jagoda Munic, of the Friends of Earth group, said.

An Indian negotiator said the developing countries’ camp was concerned at the lack of interest in raising the ambition of pre-2020 targets. He said there was an expectation, however, that the rich countries would be more forthcoming once the high-level segment, involving ministerial discussions, of the negotiations in Lima starts in the second week.

Meanwhile, the developed countries began presenting their report cards on the achievements of their emission reduction programmes so far as part of the first ever multilateral assessment process. The EU was the first to report and said it was on track to fulfil all its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

The European Union said its 2012 emissions were 18 per cent below the 1990 levels while the 2013 emissions were estimated to be 19 per cent below 1990 levels. It projected its 2020 emissions to be 21 per cent below 1990 levels with only the existing measures in place.
Some of the EU member states also put forward their assessment reports giving details of their individual achievements. A total of 17 developed countries are scheduled to present their report cards in Lima. The others would be assessed later.

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