Lima climate talks best chance for a generation, say upbeat diplomats.

Guardian: “UN climate negotiations opening in Lima on Monday have the best chance in a generation of striking a deal on global warming, diplomats say.”
“After a 20-year standoff, diplomats and longtime observers of the talks say there is rising optimism that negotiators will be able to secure a deal that will commit all countries to take action against climate change.
The two weeks of talks in Peru are intended to deliver a draft text to be adopted in Paris next year that will commit countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions without compromising the economic development of poor countries.
Diplomats and observers of the UN climate negotiations said recent actions by the US and China had injected much-needed momentum.
“I have never felt as optimistic as I have now,” said Tony de Brum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, which are sinking as sea levels rise in the Pacific. “There is an upbeat feeling on the part of everyone that first of all there is an opportunity here and that secondly, we cannot miss it.”
Beyond Lima, there is growing evidence of the dangers of climate change, and of countries’ failure to act.
The UN environment programme warned earlier this month that industrialised countries were falling short of the emissions reductions needed to prevent warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels, the goal set by world leaders. Carbon dioxide emissions are expected to reach a record high of 40bn tonnes in 2014. Meanwhile, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest on record.
Observers, however, said there was fresh optimism surrounding the Lima talks after the US and China declared on 12 November that they would work together to cut carbon pollution.
….Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate official, said the commitments, which have been made well in advance of a March 2015 deadline, had given the talks a boost.
“It is hugely encouraging that well ahead of next year’s first-quarter deadline, countries have already been outlining what they intend to contribute to the Paris agreement. This is also a clear sign that countries are determined to find common ground,” she said in a statement.
Todd Stern, the US state department’s climate change envoy, said the US-China deal could push other big polluters such as India, Japan, Brazil and Russia to come forward with their own post-2020 targets. That in turn boosted prospects for a good outcome in Paris.
“I think it will spur countries to come forward with their own targets,” he said. “Generally if you are holding stock in the Paris negotiations your stock went up.”
….The deal likely to be done in Paris will likely be a hotchpotch of targets such as those announced by the three top carbon polluters, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The test for Lima will be the degree to which negotiators can corral those separate action plans from up to 190 countries into a single agreement.
If the talks are to succeed, they will have to come up with a draft text that outlines the structure of that agreement – how to ensure countries commit to deep enough cuts to limit warming to the 2C goal, and how to verify their actions.
The US is pushing for a deal that would avoid setting emissions reduction targets that are legally binding under international law, because that would set up a clash with congress.
Many developing countries, however, insist on legally binding targets. They also argue that only the industrialised countries should have to cut emissions.
The negotiators will also try to ramp up pledges for the Green Climate Fund, which was set up to help developing countries deal with climate change. So far, the fund has raised $9.7bn (£6.2bn) from 22 countries, just short of its initial $10bn target.”
Tree-Alert (no url): “The UN Climate Talks, otherwise referred to as COP 20, begin next week in Lima, Peru at a time when climate change has rocketed back to the top of the global political agenda.
“The Lima talks are an opportunity for governments to harness momentum that has been growing around the world for months and begin taking internationally coordinated action to address the global climate change crisis. In Lima, governments can move forward on an international action plan to be finalized in Paris at the end of next year, which aims to accelerate the ongoing transition away from dirty fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. The foundation of any agreement in Paris will be built in Lima. That foundation includes getting nations to begin crafting Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), where countries will offer their plans for how to slash global carbon emissions so that the world’s warming is contained to no more than 2degC. The deadline for the INDC offers is March 2015, making Lima an opportunity for governments to put the finishing touches on what these commitments should contain, how long they should last, and how they should be presented. COP 20 is also an opportunity for governments to continue supporting the Green Climate Fund, which now has commitments for up to 9.6 billion in funding, but has an investment target of $100 billion by 2020. Politically, COP 20 comes at a pivotal time. In September, hundreds of thousands of individuals from New York to Mumbai took part in the People’s Climate March, where the demand for governments to act on climate was made at historic levels. Days later, the march was referenced by several leaders, including Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon as a reason to act. Weeks later, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave even more reason to act when it clearly outlined the harsh consequences the world faces if climate change is left unaddressed. Since then, the US and China have made “game changing” agreements to begin reducing carbon emissions at unprecedented levels. In the last several days, nations began committing to contribute billions of dollars to the Green Climate Fund. With this momentum in the rear-view mirror and Paris now just a year away, COP 20 in Lima begins with much at stake.
Key points:
– The people, businesses, investors and scientists have spoken, climate is back on the global agenda and it’s time for governments to take action. Mass public mobilisations with hundreds of thousands on the streets, the UN Secretary General’s climate leaders summit, a growing trend towards clean energy investments, and a stark report from the world’s climate scientists are all part of a massive and diverse call for action on climate change. Together, these voices, which governments can no longer ignore, are calling on government leaders to scale up the ongoing transition away from climate change-driving fossil fuels towards renewable energy.
– The Lima meetings are a chance for governments from around the world to build on the recent political momentum generated by China, the US and the EU. World leaders representing over half the world’s GDP and emissions have recently committed to policies that will accelerate the shift from dirty to clean energy – sending a strong political signal that these countries are serious about climate action. Lima is an opportunity to pressure other major emitters to put their own national action plans on the table early next year and step up commitments to keep global warming below the internationally agreed threshold of 2degC warming.
– The national action plans due in March will be the world’s first collective signal to ending the fossil fuel age. Laying the groundwork for this paradigm shift in climate politics, negotiators in Lima can clarify exactly what these national climate commitments should contain and how they should be presented. Effective plans require assurances that all nations will stick to a carbon budget and commit to phase down carbon pollution, with rich countries also supporting poorer countries financially and technologically to act. The new IPCC concept of a global carbon budget shared by all nations and the bold NGO call for phasing down emissions to zero by 2050 have now both been added to new draft negotiating texts for Lima.
– Lima is a chance for the world’s developed countries to lead the way for worldwide action by living up to their commitments to the Green Climate Fund. Following commitments made at the G20 summit in Brisbane and a GCF pledging conference in Berlin, the fund now has USD 9.6 billion to support developing countries to cut their emissions and reduce the devastating impacts of climate change – it is now within striking distance of the USD 10-15 billion target set earlier this year. Major contributions from several key countries are encouraging. Now all nations need to help generate more public and private money to reach the internationally agreed goal of USD 100 billion by 2020.
– The Lima meetings must provide some clarity for a pathway to Paris, where a new global climate agreement is due next December. To pave the way to a Paris agreement, governments can use Lima to get beyond restating well-worn positions, have some difficult discussions about the elements they need to include in their national action plans in March, and start drafting negotiating text which they can fine tune throughout 2015.
– Governments have the power to take more action now and avoid the spiraling costs of increasingly severe climate disasters later.Scaling up action starting now to contain the world’s warming to 2degC,  will save money and reduce suffering down the road. Lima is an opportunity for governments to accelerate action and sign off on a UN platform that would support countries to roll out more renewable energy, invest in energy efficiency and build smarter ways of powering our lives. Lima is a chance to replace a broken system that is failing to run societies effectively, while avoiding false solutions and outdated business models promoted by vested interests.
– The COP in Lima comes soon after a blockbuster IPCC report that says all countries need to aim for a rapid and complete phase-out of fossil fuels and a massive scaling-up of renewable energy. The IPCC report, which was endorsed by all of the world’s governments, states that economies must phase out emissions entirely and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Leaders can either become drivers of this transition and manage the risks facing the economies and societies they lead, or they can spend the rest of their careers cleaning up climate disaster after climate disaster.”