Could the Lima conference be a turning point?

By Huan Qingzhi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 9, 2014
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Mission and vision of the Lima conference

The principal mission at the Lima conference is to reach a thorough political consensus on the interpretation of the above principles; in other words, how each country will propose and accept its own voluntary plan for emission reduction.

Developed countries should not only take their historical responsibility to reduce emissions in line with their own capabilities, but also should be committed to providing necessary funding and technological support to developing countries.

Developing countries should not only voluntarily take responsibility for cutting emissions in line with their growing power but also accept supervision and facilitation from international agencies.

Therefore, the complex nature of the issue itself requires a simultaneous effort from the entire international community, and is not just a matter of whether a few major countries would agree to take responsibility.

For developing countries, there are at least three major challenging issues. First, whether the target to keep the global temperature rise within two degrees Celsius will be mission impossible. Based on IPCC findings, we should spend the next 30 years reshaping the carbon intensive economic and social institutions built over the past 150 years, or we should implement zero emissions from now on.

This might be possible from a sheer technological point of view, but considering the already established way of production and ways of life in different countries, a sudden shift to a "zero emission" economy does not seem practical, because the social and political turmoil, which is likely to occur in the wake of such a severe carbon budget, would be unaffordable to many developing countries.

Second, for developing countries, simply following the Western countries' current emission reduction scheme would require huge funding and cutting-edge green technologies. Even though questions still remain about whether developed countries are willing to offer financial and technological support, the donor and the recipient will form a new unidirectional reliance - possibly leading to new inequality which will not likely solve the existing social injustice.

Third, most developing countries will find it difficult to accept a supranational carbon regulatory regime which is believed to be "Westernized." Many Western scholars insist on resorting to a strengthened international law on the environment, along with a corresponding international court. This is evocative of concerns and even fears that this supervision system will bear remarkable "Western" traits.

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