Conclusions of COP20 in Lima

Mark Lewis, Senior Analyst Sustainability Research and Coordinator Energy Transition & Climate Change, has written an article about Lima COP where he explains some conclusions.

Negotiators at the Twentieth Conference of the Parties (COP-20) in Lima finally agreed on a text (the Lima Call for Climate Action) that prepares the ground for a global climate deal at COP-21 in Paris next year. The good news is that consensus was reached at all, as late in the day on Saturday it looked as if talks might end without any kind of agreement. The bad news is that after the optimism created by the recent bilateral deal on emissions between the US and China, COP-20 has revealed that many of the long-standing rifts between developed and developing countries remain open. This means that the foundations for a deal in Paris next year are neither as deep nor as solid as it was widely hoped they would be after two weeks of negotiations at COP-20.

We analyze the text of the Lima Call for Climate Action carefully to see what the outstanding obstacles to a meaningful deal in Paris this time next year are, and what the timeframe for dealing with these obstacles between now and next December looks like.


Divisions between developed and developing countries remain significant:  In particular, we think that crucial outstanding differences between the developed and developing countries remain on three main issues, and that achieving a meaningful deal at COP-21 next December hinges above all on resolving disagreements over the first two. (i) Responsibility for achieving mitigation: How should the burden for achieving the emissions reductions required under a future agreement be shared between developed and developing countries? Our interpretation is that while developing countries as a group will come under greater pressure than ever before to commit to binding emissions reductions in the agreement to be reached at COP-21, they still have a strong textual defence for insisting on much greater efforts in this regard on the part of developed countries. (ii)Responsibility for financing mitigation and adaptation: How will the cost of reducing emissions and adapting to a warming world be borne? In our view, without much greater clarity on how mitigation and adaptation are to be financed, and on how the related but separate question of compensation for “loss and damage” is to be addressed, it will be very difficult to achieve agreement on how the burden for reducing emissions will be shared.(III)  Transparency and comparability of commitments: A key sticking-point throughout the two-week negotiations in Lima was the degree of detail and commonality of presentation modalities that each country should commit to with regard to its Individual Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). The INDCs are the plans that each country must submit to the UNFCCC next year ahead of COP-21 setting out the commitments they are willing to make under the deal to be negotiated in Paris.

Timeline to Paris from here:  COP-21 will take place in Paris over 30 November –11 December 2015, and as set out in the Lima text there are three key events to watch out for ahead of COP-21: (i) all Parties are invited (ii)     the aim is then to have a negotiating text to serve as the basis for an agreement at the Paris COP “before May 2015”, so that the hard diplomatic work ahead of Paris can begin in earnest seven months ahead of the COP itself. (iii)    the Secretariat of the UNFCCC is then to “prepare by 1 November 2015 a synthesis report on the aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions communicated by Parties by 1 October 2015”.

Broader signals showing that a global energy transition is already underway: Beyond the final text that emerged from the Lima COP there have been a number of other interesting developments in the last two weeks

On balance we remain cautiously optimistic that a meaningful deal can be reached at COP-21 next year, which would then take effect from 2020 and thereby allow five years for countries to start preparing for the obligations they commit to. however, the risk to fossil-fuel companies in future will come not only from ever tighter climate policies, but also from broader financial, economic and technological forces.