A total of 195 nations came together in Lima, Peru over the past weekend to begin two weeks of discussions regarding climate change, and so far they have committed to finalizing a new climate pact by the end of 2015. The BBC News reported on Dec. 1 that the process has been boosted by recent developments, including a joint announcement on cutting carbon by the U.S. and China.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Lima, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that the conference had to make history.
“2014 is threatening to be the hottest year in history and emissions continue to rise, we need to act urgently,” she told the negotiators at the conference. “We should be able to lay the foundations for a strong agreement in Paris and raise the level of our ambitions so that gradually over the long term we are able to achieve climate neutrality – this is the only way to truly achieve sustainable development for all.”
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the global average temperature over land and ocean from January to October was the hottest since records began in 1880.
The BBC News reported that delegates will attempt to build on the this year’s positive momentum that has seen a new political engagement with the process. In September, millions of people took to the streets from cities all over the world in a demonstration of popular support for a new approach.
While in Lima, Peru, the negotiating teams will try to boost these advances and maintain a momentum that will survive by the time global leaders meet again in Paris, France at the end of 2015. But observers say there are many formidable challenges ahead.
According to BBC News, one key element of the puzzle that needs to be resolved in Peru is the scale of “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDC). By the end of March 2015, all countries are expected to announce the level of their efforts to cut carbon as part of the Paris deal. But, as yet, there is no agreement on what should be included or excluded from these INDC statements.