Lima Climate Change Talks Sets the Stage for Intense Negotiations in 2015

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As countries make limited progress toward a global agreement, Conservation International encourages countries to build on the decisions coming out of COP20

Following the conclusion of the twentieth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conservation International (CI) encourages governments around the world to channel the decisions made in Lima into even more constructive and productive discussions going forward to ultimately reach an ambitious agreement on global efforts to combat climate change in Paris in 2015. Governments must also recognize that a critical part of making sure the 2015 agreement effective will require inclusion of nature-based solutions for both mitigation and adaptation.

Shyla Raghav, Director of Climate Change Policy at Conservation International, said: “The Lima decision defines the basis for the negotiations on the 2015 agreement, as well as the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) that all countries will put forward in early 2015. While these contributions are entirely voluntary, we urge countries to develop INDCs that reflect the best that countries can do, including the potential to reduce emissions from deforestation and other land use.”

Convening in Lima, Peru for the last 2 weeks, 192 nations participated in negotiations to forge the basis of a global agreement to be adopted a year from now in France at COP21. Developments from the last few months raised expectations and the Lima talks got off to a positive start due to the hard work and enthusiasm of H.E. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal and the Peruvian COP Presidency to create a collaborative spirit. The Parties worked to come to agreement on the elements of national contributions to be put forward early in 2015 and which will be the foundation of the outcome agreed in Paris. Ending more than a day and a half later than expected, negotiations were heated and countries arrived at a compromise text with nearly 40 pages of options for negotiations of the elements of the 2015 agreement, including adaptation, finance and capacity building. Part of what remains to be resolved is the overall goal and targets that will guide global action on both mitigation and adaptation, as well as the assessment and review mechanisms to determine whether country contributions are good enough and, if not, how to scale them up.

Lina Barrera, Senior Director of International Policy of Conservation International, said: “The volume of work in 2015 will be tremendous. Parties must avoid an agreement so vague that it becomes meaningless, the specifics matter. Given that Parties are negotiating from very different starting points, CI would like to see in the Paris agreement at the very least that the critical elements of adaptation, ecosystems, indigenous knowledge, and human rights are included in the decisions to give a strong signal to nations to include each of these in their climate change response actions at home.”

In addition to disagreements about the level of commitment required of different countries, a major stumbling block is the financial resources needed to tackle climate change. Pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) surpassed US$10 billion, which is an encouraging signal for support in the mission and function of the Fund. This represents the largest amount of resources ever mobilized for a fund specifically targeted for climate change; however, ensuring the pledged funds are actually delivered will require maintained political will and momentum.

Kristen Walker, Managing Director and Senior Vice President of the Center for Environment and Peace at Conservation International, said: “Reaching the scale and sustainability of finance needed for mitigation and adaptation collectively will be one of the primary focuses for the 2015 agreement and will require looking beyond public sector funding. To this end, a decision in Paris will need to define the role of the private sector and innovative financial mechanisms as part of the post-2015 climate finance regime.”

Moving forward to the negotiations ahead, the sense of urgency has never been higher. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), released earlier this year concluded with more certainty than ever before that transformational action on both mitigation and adaptation is needed urgently, and requires a 100% renewable energy future by 2100, and sooner if possible. In addition, the recent science calls for maintaining healthy, resilient ecosystems that can continue to lock away carbon and secure livelihoods. Adapting to climate change remains critically important and the 2015 agreement must address the means, mechanisms, and resources that are needed to align global efforts for adaptation, including through measures that safeguard the ecosystems that provide natural buffers to the impacts of climate change.

Raghav added: “It is also important within this discussion to ensure that we don’t lose steam before the 2015 agreement goes into effect in 2020. We have seen that reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) delivers measurable emissions reductions and biodiversity benefits. These types of activities are low-hanging fruit in many areas and we have the tools and measures we need to encourage the large-scale transformation the science demands.”

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Kevin Connor, Media Manager, Conservation International
Office +1 703 341 2405/ mobile +1 410 868 1369/ email kconnor(at)conservation(dot)org

About Conservation International
Since 1987, Conservation International has been working to improve human well-being through the care of nature. With the guiding principle that nature doesn't need people, but people need nature for food, water, health and livelihoods—CI works with more than 1,000 partners around the world to ensure a healthy, more prosperous planet that supports the well-being of people. Learn more about CI and the "Nature Is Speaking" campaign, and follow CI's work on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Conservation International
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