Time for countries to roll up their sleeves at the UN climate negotiations

December 1, 2014, Lima, Peru: On the opening day of the UN climate negotiations in Lima, Climate Action Network has called for countries to build on recent momentum in climate politics and flesh out the international climate action plan due to be signed 12 months from now which will be the world’s first collective step away from fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy .

With initial climate action commitments having been tabled by the US, China and the EU in recent months, all eyes have turned other major emitters who need to put forward their own commitments early next year.  In Lima, countries need to agree the format and content of those commitments which will form the building blocks of the Paris agreement.

Martin Kaiser, head of the Greenpeace delegation, said the Paris Protocol must send a clear and convincing signal to citizens, companies and investors that the world is moving away from fossil fuels.

“ In Lima, the countries must agree on the long-term goal of phasing out fossil fuel emissions to zero by mid-century while moving towards 100% renewable energy for all in a fair transition period. Subsidies for fossil fuel industries must be shifted towards renewable energy deployment and climate adaptation for vulnerable countries. In countries like the US, China, and the EU, the phase-out of coal must be accelerated.”

Tasneem Essop, WWF International’s head of delegation to the UNFCCC, said the UN climate negotiations start off the back of political momentum starkly different from last year in Warsaw. But there is still much to do, she says.

“We expect negotiators to roll up their sleeves and get to work, translating the momentum into real action. Countries must begin preparing climate action commitments and agree to measure these for fairness. They must also be willing to scale up if it does not match the demands of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. In Lima, countries should also agree to address the emissions gap by 2020 using already affordable and available technology in the form of renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis, international policy adviser for Climate Action Network Latin America said that Latin American region was extremely vulnerable to climate impacts.

“Some countries in this region know that Lima for example could be the first city in the world to run out of water, so they are taking action. Costa Rica will get 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2016. But some countries are still under the sway of the fossil fuel industry. We’ll be looking at them during these negotiations to act in line with the peoples’ demands and pursue development in a sustainable way. We must leave fossil fuels in the ground and not repeat the steps of the developed countries that brought us to this point.”