It looks like the Philippines and other poorly developed nations will continue to bear the brunt of the destructive consequences of weather disturbances now that the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in the Peruvian capital Lima from Dec. 1 to 12 has ended with no consensus being reached in resolving climate change issue.
The objective of the COP20 meeting attended by world leaders and delegates was to create a framework for world nations to build a deal that would replace the accords met in 1997, commonly called the Kyoto Protocols, which was adopted in Kyoto, Japan.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty, which extends the 1992 UNFCCC that commits State Parties to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, based on the premise that (a) global warming exists and (b) man-made CO2 emissions have caused it.
The meeting in Lima was intended to pave the way for a new agreement addressing climate change, planned to be passed at the end of 2015 in Paris and come into force in 2020.
Nations impacted by climate change were hopeful that something beneficial will come out of Lima after U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping made announcement, during their recent meeting in Beijing, that both countries will curb their greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades.
“As the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change,” Obama said in a joint news conference with Xi.
On his part, Xi is called for “an energy revolution” that would include broad economic reforms addressing air pollution.
Alas, the acknowledged ‘two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases’ were the ones blamed for the failure of the Lima UNFCCC.
Developing nations led by China insist the West must bear a bigger burden for carbon cuts, having started decades earlier to pollute their way to prosperity.
But rich countries point the finger at developing giants like China and India furiously burning coal to power their rapid growth.
Developing nations further demand that pledges incorporate not only action on reducing carbon emissions, but also financial help and adaptation aid to shore up their climate defenses.
Many developing nations said the text did too little to oblige the rich to raise a promised $121 billion by 2020 or to help set up a mechanism to compensate for loss and damage from storms, floods or rising sea levels.
African nations and OPEC oil exporters were also among those opposed.
Peruvian environment minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, hosting the talks, urged compromise. “We are very close. We know that we will need your flexibility. Let us work together,” he said.
But that is easier said than done.
Meanwhile, the poor nations at the receiving end can only pray and hope that a consensus of some kind can be reached by those contributing immensely to climate change if only to mitigate its harsh impact.