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IPIECA attends Climate Change Summit COP 20

COP 20 Summit

Deliberations in Lima towards a new global agreement on climate change under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) led to the “Lima Call for Climate Action”.The main decision text, which was agreed in the early hours of Sunday 14 December, contained two parts: the definition of how Parties’ pledges or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are to be made and draft text for the scheduled new global agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, 2015 (COP 21).

The headline decisions were:

  • Countries’ pledges or INDCs have been given suggested elements, but there are no strict requirements in terms of content or structure
  • No formal deadline for submitting INDCs, with countries encouraged to do so “well in advance” of COP 21
  • No individual or aggregate assessment process ahead of Paris on the ambition of pledges to meet the 2C goal 
  • Countries are invited to consider an adaptation element in their pledge
  • A 39 page draft text for the Paris agreement leaves almost all technical items undecided and all options still on the table

Lack of content uniformity among countries’ pledges will make the job of comparing pledges that much harder, and was something intended to be resolved in Lima. It appears the reason for this is the differentiation between developed and developing countries, which re-emerged at this negotiating session. In short, the 1992 Convention draws clear boundaries between developed and developing countries, and places almost all emphasis for action on the former. With the rapid rise of some emerging economies, the old dividing lines appear no longer fit for purpose.

The many unresolved technical decisions leave a number of political questions outstanding, and much work for the year running up to COP 21. This will place additional burden on a process already renowned for its glacial progress and entrenched positions, and with the spectre of the failed Copenhagen agreement still fresh in people’s minds.

IPIECA was present in Lima in its role as an observer, and also held a well-attended side-event on Unburnable Carbon in the context of the future energy system, which explored some of the concepts around the carbon bubble and stranded assets, as well as the role of mitigation technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Speakers from IPIECA, the IEA Greenhouse Gas Programme, and Global CCS Institute gave their views, along with Chevron and Eni.