If you’ve been following the news, you probably know that the UN’s annual mega-conference to address climate change—officially, the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—started in Lima, Peru, yesterday morning, 1 December 2014. (For more information on the runup to the Lima COP20 conference, follow this link.) Important Media is bringing you the results direct from Peru here on CleanTechnica, with additional detail, photos, infographics, and videos on our sister site Planetsave.
At the large opening plenary session of the Lima COP20, the main players responsible for the meeting each had a few words to say, including strong calls to action. We’ll be seeing a lot more of three of them in the coming days:
- Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, President of the Lima COP20/CMP10,
- Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and
- Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
His Excellency Mr. Marcin Korolec, outgoing president of last year’s summit in Warsaw (COP19/CMP 9), opened the ceremonies. As well as providing background on the conference he chaired, taking a bow for productive future planning with Peru and France, and introducing Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, President-elect of this year’s COP20/CMP10 in Peru, Korolec passed the gavel to his successor
In his keynote talk, Pulgar-Vidal highlighted the messages of the recent Fifth IPCC Assessment (4 volumes, 2013-2014). The report clearly states that the earth’s window of opportunity to reduce emissions will close soon. It also notes that the phenomenon of climate change also brings with it many opportunities. Access the entire report (security check, apparently senseless, is required) or a brief summary for policymakers.
In her live blog, Sophie Yeo of RTCC summarized the results that Pulgar-Vidal wants to achieve in the following two weeks via an inclusive, creative, and transparent process.
- Progress on INDCs (“intended nationally determined contributions”).
- A framework for structuring and strengthening financial mechanisms.
- Launch of an ambitious process to accelerate pre-2020 action beyond current goals and commitments.
- Creation of National Adaptation Plans.
- International review of mitigation in developed countries.
- Launch of a loss and damage mechanism.
- Progress on forests.
- Concrete results on technology transfer and gender.
Ms. Christiana Figueres, who has served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for the past four years, then discussed the central need for Lima delegates to deliver a draft text for the Paris 2015 agreement. The Lima COP20 “must make history,” Figueras said, invoking the simile that the agreement must be “indelible as the Nazca lines.” (The Nazca Lines in southern Peru are a series of enormous ancient geometric patterns on the ground of animals like snakes and birds. They can only be seen from above.)
After a snappy theatrical interlude arranged by the Peruvian government, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the past 12 years, discussed the IPCC’s fifth report on the state of climate change in detail, reading a text and showing graphic highlights from the report. He pointedly reminded those present and watching that unchecked climate change would lead to irreversible consequences:
- Food and water shortages,
- Wider poverty,
- Permanent coastal flooding, and
- Population displacements.
Pachauri concluded that he hopes the Lima COP20 will arrive at policy to reach a zero emissions world by the end of the century.
Here’s a virtual tour summarizing past meetings and showing details of the conference venue.
Susana Villarán de la Puente, Mayor of Lima, and His Excellency Mr. Ollanta Humala Tasso, President of the Republic of Peru, also gave warm welcomes yesterday to delegates, visitors, and press from the podium. also presented a welcoming message. The rest of the first Lima COP20 opening session took up important procedural matters, such as okaying the rules and agenda for the meeting. The real work lies straight ahead.
Stay tuned to CleanTechnica for more reports from the IPCC COP20/CMP10 conference in Lima, Peru, and other climate news as it unfolds. IPCC-41 will meet from 24-27 February 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.