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UN Members Agree Deal at Lima Climate Talks
Dec 16, 2014

On December 14 United Nations members have reached an agreement on how countries should tackle climate change. Delegates have approved a framework for setting national pledges to be submitted to a summit next year.

Differences over the draft text caused the two-week talks in Lima, Peru, to overrun by two days. The talks proved difficult because of divisions between rich and poor countries over how to spread the burden of pledges to cut carbon emissions. The agreement was adopted hours after a previous draft was rejected by developing countries, who accused rich nations of shirking their responsibilities to fight global warming and pay for its impacts.

There was a good deal of optimism at the start of these talks as the recent emissions agreement between the US and China was seen as an historic breakthrough. But that good spirit seemed to evaporate in two weeks of intense wrangling between rich and poor.

It ended in a compromise that some participants believe keeps the world on track to reach a new global treaty by the end of next year. None of the 194 countries attending the talks walked away with everything they wanted, but everybody got something.

As well as pledges and finance, the agreement points towards a new classification of nations. Rather than just being divided into rich and poor, the text attempts to reflect the more complex world of today, where the bulk of emissions originate in developing countries.

The agreed document calls for:

  • An ambitious agreement in 2015 that reflects differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of each nation

  • Developed countries to provide financial support to vulnerable developing nations

  • National pledges to be submitted by the first quarter of 2015 by those states ready to do so.

  • Countries to set targets that go beyond their current undertaking.

  • The UN climate change body to report back on the national pledges in November 2015


While progress in Lima was limited, and many decisions were simply postponed, the fact that 194 nations assented to this document means there is still momentum for a deal in Paris.

Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javedekar said, "We've got what we wanted. The document preserved the notion that richer nations had to lead the way in making cuts in emissions. It also restored a promise to poorer countries that a loss and damage scheme would be established to help them cope with the financial implications of rising temperatures.”


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