Blog.Jun 13, 2014

“People’s COP” concludes with demand for firm climate commitment

Speakers shared stories about how their natural environment is being destroyed, how their lakes and rivers are polluted by extractive industries, and their forests cut down. Their message was clear: we need to safeguard our natural resources in order to survive. Business as usual is not an option.

Coming from the COP where the ADP (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) negotiations were focused on going through a draft text word by word, the reality of climate change was indeed more visible in the stories at the People’s COP, from organisations such as CLOC-La Vía Campesina, or Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres.

Meanwhile at the COP, weary delegates tried to remain optimistic although the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol has been signed by only 21 countries so far, and the pre-2020 ambitions are far from sufficient. Fresh winds are certainly needed in the ADP negotiations. On a positive note, Brazil has thought outside the box, and presented a model, a so-called “concentric cycle” in which countries would be able to raise their ambitions gradually.

This is just one example of how parties try to navigate their way towards an agreement. Its legal status and level of ambition is a source for concern, but Lima has provided a momentum for action. But with just a few days left, the parties are yet to decide on key items, such as the composition of the INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), so let us hope that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres were right to be as optimistic as they were in their respective press conferences earlier this week.