Lima climate conference showing ragged edges

B. McPherson

Delegates from 190 countries are spending two weeks in Lima, Peru, discussing and dealing to try to come to an agreement on reducing countries’ carbon dioxide emissions. The aim is to agree on binding limits in order to pass them at next year’s two week conference in Paris.

Already China, the world’s biggest polluter has already announced that they will not allow independent inspectors of their emissions. That may well be enough to trash the China/US emissions agreement signed in November. The US, world’s second largest polluter, is also unlikely to agree on binding restrictions.

In spite of China’s reluctance to admit inspectors, the European Union countries have made pledges to reduce their carbon releases in the range of 40% by 2025. The US and Denmark have made multi-billion dollar pledges to develop new ways to help keep the Earth’s temperature an average of only 2 degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

The trouble with pledges is that they are only promises. Pledges of humanitarian aid are often given but never delivered.

Many countries around the world are facing tough economic times. Multiple countries are fighting wars and civil unrest. Millions of people are being displaced and finding scant refuge in neighbouring countries. Money can often be found to fight, but to build infrastructure to wean humanity away from fossil fuels may be hard to find.

There are also the arguments by the developing nations which include China, that they must be given more allowance for polluting in order to catch up to the developed nations. They maintain that the developed nations are responsible for the pickle we now find ourselves in so they should foot the bill for the fix.

In spite of the resources spent to bring about this two week conference in Lima, it is unlikely that any firm agreement will be reached. The more optimistic would say that valuable work has been done to pave the way to binding agreements next year in Paris.

A deal isn’t due to actually be signed until next year’s summit, in Paris. There’s no guarantee of a deal then either – in Copenhagen in 2009 a summit ended without satisfactory agreement. And even if there is a deal in Paris, few people think it will be drastic enough to keep the world to within 2C warming. The Telegraph

There is value in face-to-face meetings, but the expense involved in flying people from 190 different countries, providing lodging and food for two weeks and flying them home again is staggering. An estimated 9 000 people are attending this two weeks in Lima and generating about 29 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide while doing so.

Democracy Now                
The Indian Express            

The Telegraph            

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