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Back from the brink of climate change chaos | Climate change lawyer

Back from the brink of climate change chaos | Climate change lawyer

The UNFCCC claim Lima as a success story on the road towards global agreement on climate change next year in Paris, but Lord Stern takes a different view, saying that disaster was just avoided and that the much heralded Green Climate Fund is nothing more than 'a distraction'.

It is important to keep up with the new terms and phrases, described in earlier blogs as the ' language of climate change'. In this article, we are introduced to even more phrases that observers need to understand - see those sections in bold below.

The UNFCC announced  that a new 2015 agreement on climate change, that will harness action by all nations, took a further important step forward in Lima following two weeks of negotiations by over 190 countries.

Lord Stern however put a different spin on the conference of the parties, saying in an article in the Guardian Sunday 14th December, saying,

'Governments took a step back from chaos in the climate change discussions in Lima and found a way forward on Sunday, albeit with some fudges and compromises, giving themselves just 12 months to finalise a crucial international agreement to avoid dangerous levels of global warming.'

Nations concluded by elaborating the elements of the new agreement, scheduled to be agreed in Paris in late 2015, while also agreeing the ground rules on how all countries can submit contributions to the new agreement during the first quarter of next year.

Stern's view is that Paris is the last chance that the world has to avoid a rise in global average surface temperature of more than two degrees celcius, which is recognised as the threshold beyond which the risks of climate change are likely to become unacceptably large.

Stern describes the Green Climate Fund as a distraction, and says that the important issue is how the massive amount of $4 Trillion per year that will be spent by emerging nations on infrastructure such as roads and buildings will be deployed. If countries 'lock into' dirty growth powered by fossil fuels, then the 2 degrees target will not be reached.

These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will form the foundation for climate action post 2020 when the new agreement is set to come into effect.

During the two week 20th Conference of the Parties, countries also made significant progress in elevating adaptation onto the same level as action to cut and curb emissions.

The official view, propounded by Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the Minister of the Environment of Peru and the COP President, was that

'Lima has given new urgency towards fast tracking adaptation and building resilience across the developing world—not least by strengthening the link to finance and the development of national adaptation plans.

he said 'The Lima Climate Conference achieved a range of other important outcomes and decisions and "firsts" in the history of the international climate process.'

Pledges were made by both developed and developing countries prior to and during the COP that took the capitalization of the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) past an initial $10 billion target.

Levels of transparency and confidence-building reached new heights as several industrialized countries submitted themselves to questioning about their emissions targets under a new process called a Multilateral Assessment. Governments arrived in Lima on a wave of positive news and optimism resulting from the climate action announcements of the European Union, China and the United States to the scaling up of pledges for the Green Climate Fund.

The first ever Multilateral Assessment (MA) was launched in Lima marking an historic milestone in the implementation of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification of emission reductions under the UNFCCC as a result of decisions taken at previous COPs in Cancun, Durban and Doha.

Progress was made in Lima on elevating adaptation onto the same level as the curbing and cutting of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. This will be done through recognition that National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) offer an important way of delivering resilience.

NAPs will now be made more visible via the UNFCCC website which should improve the opportunity for receiving backing. The green light was given for discussions with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) on how countries can be supported with their NAPs which should increase the number of these plans coming forward for support.

Forests and the Lima Information Hub for REDD +

Countries meeting in Lima made progress on providing support to avoid deforestation.Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico formally submitted information and data on the status of their greenhouse gas emission reductions in the forest sector to the UNFCCC secretariat following a similar submission by Brazil earlier in the year.

These baselines are likely to increase the possibility of obtaining international funding under initiatives like Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).In support of this, the COP President announced that an ‘information hub’ will be launched on the UNFCCC web site, spotlighting actions by countries carrying out REDD+ activities.The aim is to bring greater transparency on both the actions being undertaken, including safeguards for communities and the payments being made.

For more information on Measurement Reporting and Verification [MRV] see blog article on this site January 8th 2013 

For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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