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Postcards from Peru: A diary from the UN climate talks (Days 8 and 9)

 

I’m in Lima for the UN climate talks which run 1-12 December. I’ll be regularly tweeting and blogging. If you find this blog interesting please feel to share it

DAYS 8-9 (Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 December 2014)

And, we’re off! Finally.

The High Level section of these talks began on Tuesday with an opening contribution from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He said he brought a message of “hope and urgency” while reminding those present of the job needing done here:

“We must deliver a balanced, well-structured, and coherent draft text for the 2015 agreement that provides a clear and solid foundation for negotiations next year in Paris,” he said.

COP20 high level openingCOP20 high level opening

There then began a lengthy series of opening remarks from leaders and ministers from the almost 200 countries gathered here.

“The secretary-general is right,” said Tasneem Essop, WWF’s Head of Delegation in Lima. “These talks need to heat up if we are going to give climate a chance to cool down. Governments need to start producing results on what a global deal will look like and how to aggressively act on emissions and finance in the pre-2020 period.”

Essop is right. Now that leaders have spoken, the negotiations have to reflect the spirit of their words. The current negotiating text (published on Monday) covers many of the right elements, but movement is slow with very little agreement so far. When agreement does come, it needs to be balanced – elements like finance and adaptation need to be given as much importance as mitigation.

COP20 draft documentCOP20 draft document

Moods were lifted a little when during the day it was announced that pledges from nations to the UN’s Green Climate Fund had risen to beyond the minimum Lima goal of US $10 billion – including a surprise contribution of AUS 200 million from current climate bad boys Australia. It’s good to see all that international pressure by campaigners and countries is paying off.

But, let’s not get too carried away with ourselves. We’re over half way through these talks now and to be honest you certainly don’t get the feeling that negotiators are acting like they know they’ve got to finish in four days time. Unless they act with urgency as Mr Ban wants to see, we’ll find ourselves negotiating much of the same stuff in Paris. Something not exactly conducive to concluding a well thought though deal and certainly not one that will prevent the very worst impacts of global climate change.

The very fact that getting agreement by hundreds of nations is difficult, underlines why action at home is so important in the meantime. While in Lima I’ve been speaking with many people here and sharing the success of the growth in renewable technologies in the UK. They certainly got very excited when I told them Scotland is already generating almost half of its electricity needs from clean energy sources. In fact, throughout the whole of November wind power alone generated enough electricity to supply more that 100 percent of the electricity needs of every home in Scotland.

Scotland renewable energy figuresScotland renewable energy figures

However, for me, one of the most exciting things on Tuesday was the launch of a report by my WWF colleagues detailing the success stories from seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean proving that the region is also positioning itself to lead the sustainable energy revolution.

The report, Green Energy Leaders, provides examples of renewable energy trend-setting in the region including Costa Rica’s target of 100 per cent renewable energy, Uruguay’s leading clean energy investment and Brazil’s massive pipeline of future wind power capacity. Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru are also featured in the report.

However, just as important as this action is the need to keep up the pressure on politicians here in Lima as well as back home.

That’s why I and thousands of others will be taking to the streets of Lima on Wednesday, in what people hope will be Peru’s biggest ever march for action on climate change.

You can follow the march by following the hashtag #YoMarcho10D

For all the latest on the climate talks be sure to follow @LangBanks  @WWFScotland and @LeoHickman @WWF_UK on Twitter.

You can also read previous ‘Postcards form Peru’ here: DAY 0DAYS 1 & 2DAY 3DAYs 4 & 5, DAYS 6 & 7

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