The Lima Accord: Some key points

Typhoon Hagupit. Source: NASA

The climate is already changing

One year ago, supertyphoon Haiyan unleashed havoc in the Philippines while world governments were discussing a global climate agreement at the United Nations Climate Talks. Now, one year later, another destructive typhoon Hagupit hit the country while the same climate negotiations were taking place in Lima, Peru. While no single storm can be directly linked to a changing climate, the increased frequency and intensity of severe storms, has been observed and reported on by scientists linking it to global warming. Some politicians and businesses herald the Lima talks as progress while many climate experts say it’s not enough. Let’s look at some of the issues with the draft agreement coming out of Lima. 

The Lima Accord: Some key points

First, the new agreement does not reflect the urgency of the climate crisis. One of the fundamental flaws of the negotiations is the lack of a clear global goal for limiting global warming based on science. The IPCC latest report made it clear that we have to get off fossil fuels and take urgent measures if we want to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius and avert global disaster (its even debatable if 2C degrees can be considered a "safe" limit). With the current agreement we are on a path to 3-4 degrees warming. Island nations face imminent danger from rising sea-levels but the agreement does not reflect this urgency. 

Second, while there are some good ideas in the agreement there are no measures to ensure implementation. One scenario included in the text coming out of Lima is a goal of phasing out carbon emissions by 2050, which was supported by over 100 countries. This is a big deal. However, the only way to achieve it is by moving away from fossil fuels but there is still no plan for how countries will achieve this or how to monitor their progress. Each country are expected to report in the coming months how they will make this happen. But nations won’t be held accountable for reporting their plans. This increases the seriousness of putting pressure on governments to ensure responsibility. 

Third, many least developed and vulnerable countries feel they have been left out in the cold. The agreement does not force rich nations to support countries that are being most impacted by climate change. Countries that have had little impact on global emissions will likely be the ones making the most efforts to create change but they will not be getting enough financial support. It’s a serious issue of climate injustice. Many rich countries are still treating the climate talks as business as usual and are not going out of their way to provide leadership. 

Fourth, the world’s nations are for the first time in agreement over that poorer nations should also lower their emissions. How much rich nations and poorer nations should lower their emissions, respectively, has not been agreed upon. This will be a difficult issue to solve during the 2015 Paris meeting. 


The Lima Accord resulted in that every nation has to present their emission plans during March 2015. The final text also opened up for the future agreement to be non-binding and voluntary, which most experts agree on is a bad idea. The major questions around how poorer nations will receive financing and technology as well as payments for losses and harms from a changing climate has not been resolved. Richer nations seem to once again have gotten their will while the poorer nations are the loosers. The issue of climate justice has thus not been adressed which was the major problem during the Climate talks in Copenhagen. It looks like most problems are pushed further down the road, to the climate meeting in Paris, November 2015. I have no major expectations since politicans has proved over and over again that they are incapable of coming to an agreement with teeth. We will have to look for other solutions that incurage low-carbon solutions and forces emitters to pay, for example, through dividends and fees on carbon from all trade and production.


Out of the ashes into the fire

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