(NEW YORK/ LIMA – Dec. 1, 2014) Delegates meeting in Lima, Peru for this year’s United Nations climate conference (COP-20) will be seeking to build on the momentum created by the recent US-China bilateral agreement, as well as the efforts launched at the Climate Summit held in New York in September, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said as the talks opened today.
“Lima signals the bell lap in the current round of talks leading to a climate agreement in Paris next year,” said Nathaniel Keohane, vice president for international climate at EDF and a former economic adviser in the Obama administration. “Countries won’t finalize an agreement in Lima, but they should make progress in setting out fundamental elements of such an agreement.”
An important area for discussion concerns the framework that the 2015 agreement will put in place to support and promote ambitious actions by countries to address climate change. An effective framework will elaborate key integrity standards for transparency and environmental efficacy, create incentives for early emissions reductions before 2020, and facilitate the use of well-designed carbon markets to help nations take ambitious action to reduce emissions.
The Lima conference rounds out a year of positive developments in tackling climate change. Last month’s pact between China and the United States to cut their national emissions demonstrated a positive new dynamic of bilateral cooperation between the world’s two largest emitting nations. September’s Climate Summit 2014 hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon served as the launch pad for broad commitments among governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society to curtail climate change. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency introduced the groundbreaking Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the current fleet of U.S. power plants, which account for almost 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions from energy. The state of California cut by 4% emissions covered by its cap while its gross domestic product grew 2%.
“No single UN agreement will solve climate change,” said Keohane. “What an agreement in Paris can do is build a structure that spurs countries to be more ambitious, makes them accountable for their progress, and gives them the confidence that other countries are taking action as well. The talks in Lima can lay the groundwork for such an outcome.”
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