Record temperatures raise pressure on UN climate talks

Ed King
December 1, 2014
Two weeks of UN climate change negotiations start in Lima today, with time running out for countries to develop the structure of a global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Envoys arriving in Peru’s capital are tasked with crafting a draft version of a deal that nearly 200 governments can assess by May 2015 and sign that December. 
It will need to limit warming to below 2C, beyond which scientists say climate-related impacts could become dangerous and potentially irreversible.
By the end of the conference, the 20th since climate negotiations started, countries need to agree on what types of commitment they will make to a deal.
The UN’s lead climate official told RTCC she was arriving in “confident” spirits due to recent carbon cutting announcements from the US, China and EU.
“Never before have the risks of climate change been so obvious and the impacts so visible. Never before have we seen such a desire at all levels of society to take climate action,” Christiana Figueres said.
Last Friday India and seven other South East Asian countries added their voice to calls for Lima to help deliver a legally binding climate deal in 12 months time.
“There is the urgency for the global community to arrive at a Protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force applicable to all by the end of 2015,” said the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
WWF’s lead climate official Tasneem Essop said she was not expecting a completed draft text by the end of the talks, but urged envoys to start focusing on specific options.
“We cannot leave here with just a list of bullet points defining elements,” she said.