“Lima Call for Climate Action”
It has been more than 300 years after the earth became the witness of first industrial revolution which was the stepping stone in changing the lives of the human beings. The industrial revolution which first originated in England quickly diffused to all the countries consequently, the standard of living quickly reaches at higher level in almost every country though in varying degree. However, as there are no free lunches, the cost of the rapid economic development in world was paid by the environment surrounding the earth. As the rapid economic growth was improving our materialistic life, the quality of air we were breathing deteriorated.
Global Efforts to Check Environment Deterioration
The world realised the ill effects of rapid and ruthless economic growth as early as 1910 when some multilateral international agreements were signed. Establishment of United Nations Environment Programme in 1972 was a major event to recognize the efforts for environment protection. Some other major international efforts for the global environment protection include Kyoto Protocol (1997), Vienna Convention for Protection of Ozone Layer (1985), Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992) etc. Among all the global environment treaties, Kyoto Protocol was the most prominent environment treaty which made binding carbon emission cuts on the member nations. The Kyoto Protocol is seen as an important first step towards a truly global emission reduction regime that will stabilize Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, and can provide the platform for the future international agreement on climate change
Objectives of Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 but came into force in 2005 after getting ratified by the requisite number of countries. It gave the binding targets to bring down the carbon emission 5 percent below 1990 levels for the developed countries in the first commitment period which was 2008-12. A second commitment period was proposed in 2012, known as Doha Amendment, to propose the binding targets after the end of first commitment period. But many nations like Japan, Russia, and New Zealand who party during the first commitment period indicated their withdrawal from the protocol. China, India, and the United States too indicated that they will not ratify any treaty that will commit them legally to reduce carbon emissions.
In the course of time, it became quite clear that most nations are not ready to sacrifice economic growth for the sake of environment and are thus in opposition to any binding targets to the GHG emission. But in order to rest the process of deterioration in environment, some international arrangement has to be devised to bridle the rapidly increasing environmental pollution. For that matter, Lima Conference on Climate change is considered to be a major development in designing the future environment blueprint.
During the Lima Conference, participating nations agreed that both developed and developing nations should make pledges on how much they will control emissions beyond their present plans. However, unlike Kyoto, no quantified targets were discussed. There was agreement in principle that rich nations should provide financial support to vulnerable developing countries. In gist, the talks manifested some optimism about reaching some concrete agreement during the next climate talks scheduled in Paris in December 2015.
Another important decision at Lima was the launching of first ever Multilateral Assessment (MA) marking a historic milestone in the implementation of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification of emission reductions. The Lima meeting also sent an important signal that the transfer of climate technologies with the assistance of the UN and other international agencies is picking up speed. There was also announcement of Declaration on Education and Awareness that aimed at developing education strategies that incorporate the issue of climate change in curricula, while also raising awareness on climate change in the design and implementation of national development and climate change strategies.
Thus, the Lima deal, in contrast to Kyoto, is based on voluntary cuts which allow nations to set their own voluntary carbon emission targets and policies without any legally binding caps or international oversight.
Lima Deal and India
Though India is for some clear agreement on climate change but it had sought an agreement which would not put on stake the livelihood security of its vast population, a substantial portion of whom are poor. Imposition of quantified carbon cuts would affect the industrial production in country while the sudden change to clean technology would not be cost effective making its products less competitive in the era of globalization.
The Lima deal addressed the Indian concerns by paving the way for all nations to submit their 'nationally determined' pledge for emission cuts and adaptation measures by October 2015. It also addressed the concerns of developing countries like India by keeping 'adaptation' clause intact. Before the Lima Conference, there was pressure on India in the backdrop of bilateral climate deal signed between China and the US. Since the US, China and India are the three largest carbon emitters who opposed quantified carbon cuts; there was a covert pressure on India to come up with some substantial plan to regulate the carbon emission. But the voluntary nature of commitment at Lima gave India the space to come up with a plan that would not be detrimental to its economy. Discussion on adaption measures, technology transfer, environmental awareness in education curriculum were among the few things for which India has supported for long term sustainable climate change measures.
In gist, the agreement, also known as Lima Call for Climate Action, by bringing all the players on the table has saved the climate talks from collapsing and made a suitable ground for the next talks scheduled in Paris in December 2015.