World Bank urges leaders to 'turn down the heat' before Lima

Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 4 minutes
27 November 2014

LONDON: Dramatic climate changes are underway and the planet is already locked into an increase of 1.5° Celsius degrees above pre-industrial levels by mid-century, says a new report by the World Bank. But it’s not too late to revert the most extreme impacts, if world leaders secure a bold, binding agreement in Paris next year - and progress at talks in Lima next week.

The World Bank report Turn down the heat states we are now experiencing the impacts of climate change, with our food and energy security already at risk. High temperatures are becoming the norm and both drought and heavy rainfalls are damaging the most exposed to such threats: poor communities, the elderly and children.

Given these premises, COP20, the global climate talks in Lima next week, is fundamental to setting the framework that will enable a treaty in Paris next year. In fact, many issues still remain open, and next week will test the real political will to find a common ground toward a robust climate deal.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, commented: “This report is a sharp final prod for world leaders a week before they head to the UN climate talks in Lima. While the World Bank’s conclusion is clearly damning of progress to date, it’s certainly not too late to avoid the most extreme consequences of climate change. A bold, binding agreement in Paris next year will be central to this and, to get there, we need to see real progress come out of Lima – an agreed negotiating text, new action to cut emissions in the next five years and, most importantly, a shared commitment to make this the beginning of the end of the high carbon economy.”

Hope for Paris

To catalyze this momentum, Lima will produce the “draft” of the binding agreement to be set in Paris. But while many states are beginning to announce their voluntary climate commitments to the agreement, there is still the need to find a common framework which can be its founding base.

So far, agreement between US and China has set the bar high for expectations, with the EU on a similar track thanks to its adoption of a binding target to reduce greenhouse gases “at least” 40% by 2030 (compared to 1990), and increase the share of renewable energy and energy efficiency by 27%. 

Earlier in September, Climate Week NYC boosted hopes for businesses, with hundreds of high-level CEOs and heads of government gathered to discuss how to do improve both the economy and the environment.

But with the world already locked into a 1.5°C warming, in Lima much emphasis will rightly be put on mitigation. In fact, the World Bank states that if governments will not act to tackle climate change, there is a 40% chance of exceeding 4°C warming by the end of the century - an extremely dangerous figure, which means it could be too late to revert every catastrophic consequence.

Global climate action

The world of finance will also play a big role in Lima. The Green Climate Fund is expected to reach about US$10 billion next week, with the goal of mobilizing a total of US$100 billion per year up to 2020.

Despite national leadership at Lima, cities will continue to do their part to act on climate too, by focusing on both mitigation and adaptation. In September, the announcement of a new Compact of States & Regions was hailed as an important step to find a common ground to measure and compare each city’s climate success and difficulties.

There are many things that could make Lima a failure like Copenhagen in 2009, or a complete success that will pave the way for Paris. But it’s important not to lose the momentum that has been building over the past year – from the UN Climate Summit and Climate Week NYC, to last week’s US-China announcement – that continues to raise awareness of the most pressing climate issues, and is urging business and society to support progress, whatever happens next week in Lima.  

By Ilario D'Amato

We will be sharing news and blogs from COP20 on this website over the next two weeks. Follow our events using hashtag #statesandregions on Twitter.

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