Lang Banks is blogging from Lima, Peru at the climate talks for Bella. Lang is the director of WWF Scotland and is part of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland delegation to the UNFCCC. Follow all the latest from Lima on Twitter: @LangBanks @WWFScotland and @sccscot
Despite a week of meetings, and working through the whole of Saturday, the reality is that negotiations to prepare the ground for a global climate agreement in Paris next year haven’t really moved forward at all.
To the casual observer, negotiators probably look like they’ve spent most of their time arguing about processes. However, delve beneath the surface and these fights have not really been about process at all. Really they’ve been about the content, exposing the gaps that exist between what developed and developing countries want out of these talks.
While most developed countries would probably be fine with signing up to a deal just asking them to cut their climate emissions, developing countries are looking for a more comprehensive outcome in Paris – one that includes action and support for developing countries on adaptation and finance.
The second week of talks starting today will have to move with much greater pace if we are to stand any chance of leaving Lima with something which comes anywhere close to matching what the climate science is telling us- as well as meeting the expectations of civil society watching right around the world.
Tuesday will see the opening of the ‘high-level session’ of the talks, with speeches from some of the global leaders and senior Ministers who began arriving in Peru over the weekend.
Amongst those arriving here this week will be Scotland’s own Environment and Climate Change Minister, Aileen McLeod.
“It is important that there is a Scottish presence at the Lima climate conference,” said Tom Ballantine of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition. “Attendance from the Minister should send a positive signal to the international community about Scottish political commitment to taking action on climate change.”
One area that is going to need real commitment from countries over the remaining week is action to curb emissions before 2020, and not just after this date. Why is this important? Well, because the science tells us that in order to meet the goal of limiting warming to 1.5-2 degrees, and to avoid the very worst of the catastrophic impacts of global climate change, emissions really need to peak by the end of this decade.
However, discussions about curbing emissions in the pre-2020 are in danger of falling off the radar entirely.
As Tasneem Essop, WWF’s Head of Delegation in Lima, eloquently put it in the final NGO press conference of the week: “Negotiators seem to have forgotten that they are here to solve a planetary emergency. Negotiators here are fixing the fire alarms while the building burns.”
So, with only a week left of these talks, we urgently need to see commitments to curb emissions by 2020 put back on the agenda. We cannot allow negotiators to sacrifice a scientifically and equitably sound deal for a weak political outcome in Paris in 2015.