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Dec 18th, 2014 | By | Category: Development and Climate Change, India, UNFCCC

lima-1mYet another depressing charade played out at Lima, Peru, where the 20th conference of the parties (COP) to the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded on December 14, with a 43-page negotiating text, with several alternative formulations for virtually every provision. It is unlikely that, within the deadline set by the Paris COP in December 2015, an agreed text will be negotiated, especially since Lima has further heightened the mistrust and bitterness between the developed and developing countries.

Since the 15th COP in Copenhagen (2009), each subsequent meet, in Cancun (2010), Durban (2011), Doha (2012), Warsaw (2013) and now Lima, has moved the international community farther away from the original intent of the UNFCCC and the Bali Action Plan, adopted at the 13th COP in 2007. There has been a veritable war of attrition, aimed at eviscerating the UNFCCC, erasing the distinction between developed and developing countries in assuming responsibilities to tackle climate change and focusing almost exclusively on the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, relegating to lower priority other associated challenges of adapting to climate change, including the provision of financial resources and technology transfer, which are of equal interest to developing countries.

India is frequently accused of  obstructing international consensus on tackling climate change. In fact, India and other developing countries have only insisted that developed countries deliver on their commitments, enshrined in the UNFCCC, and not cherry-pick from the package of measures all countries agreed on at the Bali COP in 2007. This package, including mitigation (emission reduction), adaptation (to climate change), finance and technology (to enable developing countries’ climate change action), was designed to “enhance” the implementation of the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC and not to negotiate a new climate change treaty. This “enhanced action” was prompted by the sense of urgency and the scale of threat conveyed in the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is responsible for providing the best scientific evaluation of trends in global climate change. Based on a scientifically determined scale of global effort required to address climate change and its consequences, multilateral negotiations are to be undertaken to ensure equitable burden-sharing among developed and developing countries. The achievement of agreed targets would be subject to a strict international compliance procedure. That is what the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 was all about. The UNFCCC clearly recognised a differential historical responsibility for climate change on the part of developed countries. It also recognised that climate change action by developing countries would need to be “enabled” by finance and technology from developed countries. When India and other developing countries insist these commitments are kept, they are criticised as recalcitrant and unreasonable.

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Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>

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