In 2009 world leaders met in Copenhagen for talks on climate change. These talks resulted in the Copenhagen Accord on climate change which is an agreement on global climate change policy but is not legally binding.
It recognises the need to limit global temperatures rising to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. More vulnerable countries such as Peru wanted deeper emissions cuts to hold temperature rise to 1.5°C but this was not achieved. The agreement for 2°C is not a formal target, it was simply agreed that this should be the limit. Moreover there are no quantified aggregate targets for emissions reductions and it is unclear how any targets will be achieved.
Financial aid for developing countries was agreed. They will receive US$30 billion over the next three years and the Copenhagen Accord’s goal is to provide US$100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change. Notwithstanding this success, there is a major issue with regard to developing countries as the agreement lacks independent verification of emissions reductions by these developing nations.
Also, and particularly relevant to Peru, is the agreement to significantly reduce deforestation in return for cash.
World leaders will meet again in Cancún, Mexico at the end 2010 to attempt to establish a legally binding climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. It will focus on organising short term financing through existing institutions and clarifying the mechanisms for long term finance. There will be a dialogue with business and and developing countries will need to be assured that public funds will go to their priorities.
In April 2010, Bolivia held the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. It was an alternative climate change conference as Bolivia did not sign up to the UN’s Copenhagen Accord due to dissatisfaction with the role of the USA in climate change issues.
Over ten thousand people attended this conference which focused on several key issues; emphasis on indigenous culture and sharing of information; the structural causes of climate change; harmony with nature; adapting to climate change; the dangers of the carbon market and climate justice.
It shows that South America is developing its own response to climate change and that there is a desire to respond immediately and take action.