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UN climate summit begins in Peru

The Hindu, LIMA, 1st December, 2014

AP Members of the international confederation Oxfam hold a banner with a message for representatives meeting at the upcoming climate talks, on the grounds of the Huaca Pucllana archaeological site, in Lima, Peru, on Saturday.

Officials from over 190 nations, including India, on Monday converged here at the UN climate summit to negotiate on a new ambitious and binding deal to cut global carbon emissions, in the last chance to reach on a historic deal to be signed next year in Paris.

 

Negotiations have been ongoing for 20 years, as the UN continues to bring its member countries together to help curb the damaging effects of coal burning and petroleum use, among other sources of pollution.

 

During the 12—day summit in the Peruvian capital, countries will put forward what they plan to contribute to the 2015 pact in the form of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by the first quarter of 2015, well in advance of the Paris conference in December.

 

The Lima conference needs to provide final clarity on what the INDCs need to contain, including for developing countries who are likely to have a range of options from, for example, sector—wide emission curbs to energy intensity goals.

 

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar leads India’s 17-member delegation to negotiate terms for the final agreement to be signed in Paris, which will take effect in 2020.

 

Ahead of the summit, a report by UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that populous coastal cities Mumbai and Kolkata are most vulnerable to loss of life and properties due to flooding in the second half of the century.

 

“Never before have the risks of climate change been so obvious and the impacts so visible. Never before have we seen such a desire at all levels of society to take climate action,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Convention.

 

The UN report warned against extreme weather events like occurrence of heatwave, heavy precipitation, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfire that cause damage to ecosystems and human systems in various regions.

 

It suggested that given the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and top polluters’ expected emissions in the coming years, it may be impossible to stop the planet from warming to the breaking point of 2 degrees Celsius.