UN climate talks kick off in Lima
Updated: 2014-12-02 09:02
LIMA - The annual UN global climate change talks started in the Peruvian capital of Lima on Monday amid hopes for hammering out a new international climate deal ahead of key talks in Paris in 2015, but this year's talks were expected to be intense.
Thousands of representatives from nearly 200 nations gathered at the Peruvian Army Headquarters for the two-week-long negotiations formally known as the COP20, or the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec, who was COP19/CMP9 President, hailed the 2030 framework agreed by the European Union and the China-US joint announcement for emission cut as some of the major achievements of this year.
Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who was elected at the opening session as COP20/CMP10 president, urged participants to work in a creative way to reach global consensus in the following 12 days and stressed that an inclusive and transparent process was his top priority.
"This conference should lead to a framework on structuring and strengthening financial mechanisms, launch ambitious process to accelerate pre-2020 action, and make progress on intended determined contributions, or INDCS in short," said Pulgar-Vidal, calling for collective action from all parties.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres encouraged all actors to broaden scope of actions, and create political parity of adaptation and mitigation.
"This COP must make history," Figueres said, highlighting increased collective capacity of climate action worldwide and urging stronger global moves for a sustainable future.
Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), promised to bring everyone down "with the reality of science" after the theatrical show organized by the Peruvian presidency.
The IPCC, UN's science panel, recently presented its synthesis report, which is the fourth and final element of the fifth assessment report on the state of climate change.
Pachauri spelled out the influence of human emissions and their unequivocal impact on the planet, which is underway across all countries and affecting all peoples alike. "It is very likely Arctic sea ice will continue to shrink, sea level will continue to rise, and glacier volume will decrease," he said.
Pachauri expressed his hope that this COP will focus attention on the need to keep a global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius and reach a zero emissions world by the end of the century in order to reduce climate change risks.
The UNFCCC 12-day talks took place amid depressing scientific warnings and rising prospects in advancing a draft universal pact with the aim of adopting it at the COP21 in Paris, France at the end of next year. The recent joint announcement made by China and the United States to limit greenhouse gas emissions provided practical and political momentum towards the new global agreement.
About 10,000 delegates, activists, journalists and support crew have been accredited for the conference, with thousands of police providing security.