Climate negotiations begin in Peru
The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a stark reminder of the urgent need for climate action. The impacts of climate change are already being felt across the globe, with the most vulnerable communities and ecosystems hit the hardest.
If we continue on a business-as-usual trajectory, climate change will destabilise entire economies, disrupt ecological processes that underpin human well-being, and drive species extinction. The recently released Climate Report by the Audubon Society confirms this: of 588 North American bird species studied, 314 are projected to be in dire straits by 2080 as a result of climate change.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The IPCC report, approved by nearly all governments, also states that we can avoid the worst of impacts if we take action now to rapidly phase-out fossil fuels and shift to low-carbon, climate resilient models of growth.
The 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) in Lima provides an opportunity for governments to work together to address this global challenge, and to respond to the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who took to the streets in September, marching for climate action.
COP20 is an important milestone in climate negotiations. Next year in Paris, governments should adopt a global agreement on climate change (the successor to the Kyoto Protocol) to come in to force in 2020. The primary aim of this agreement is to deliver on the objective of the UNFCCC – slow climate change to a level that is not dangerous (generally agreed to be a 2 degree Celsius warming from pre-industrial levels ). The agreement could take various forms – a protocol, another legal instrument or “an agreed outcome with legal force” – and will be applicable to all Parties.
COP20 is one of the last opportunities governments have to lay the foundations for this global agreement.