Monday

27th May 2019

Optimism fading for progress in Lima climate talks

  • US foreign minister John Kerry (l) speaking to former US vice-president Gore at the Lima conference. (Photo: UNFCCC)

Climate negotiators went to Lima in an optimistic atmosphere, but hopes for a strong outcome to the discussions have receded with just one day of talks left.

The negotiators are working on a text which will be used as a basis for an international climate treaty to be signed next year in Paris, but according to the Guardian, only one paragraph had so far been agreed on by Thursday (11 December).

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The weeks leading up to the 10-day conference in the Peruvian capital were packed with optimistic messages of “growing momentum”, but different signals are now emerging from the summit.

On Wednesday, EU climate negotiator Miguel Arias Canete said “progress is much slower than we want and need”.

“With a 100 page document ... it's difficult for ministers to reach an agreement”, he added.

Other officials are also raising doubts.

“I am not really sure that we will see a clear outcome coming here in Lima”, said former Mexican president Felipe Calderon, according to the Guardian.

Developing and developed countries continue to disagree on how responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should be shared.

In an attempt to reinvigorate the talks, US secretary of state John Kerry held a speech on Thursday, calling on all countries to “take giant, measurable, clear steps forward that will set us on a new path”.

He called climate change a “global threat” that ranks equally with “terrorism, extremism, epidemics, poverty, nuclear proliferation”.

“Future generations will judge our effort not just as a policy failure, but as a massive, collective moral failure of historic consequence, particularly if we’re just bogged down in abstract debates.”

Kerry said “we simply don’t have time to sit around going back and forth about whose responsibility it is to act”.

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