In the early hours of December 14, the 20th annual climate change negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded in Lima, Peru. Some 33 hours after the conference was supposed to end, a deal was unveiled that takes a historic step forward.
This agreement represents the first time all countries (not just wealthy countries) have committed to decreasing their carbon emissions. By early March, each country is expected to put forth a plan of how much they will reduce emissions after 2020.
The Lima Accord is an important step toward reaching a strong global agreement at the Paris negotiations in 2015; however, there are many obstacles on the road to Paris. Countries must increase the ambition of their emission reduction targets and ramp up funding to build communities’ climate resilience and transition to a clean energy economy.
The deal reached in Lima was aided by last month’s game-changing agreement between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions and expanding the clean energy economy.
President Obama should be commended for the leadership he has shown here at home to tackle climate change. A core pillar of the Climate Action Plan is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposals to limit the amount of carbon pollution that new and existing power plants can spew into our air. These standards represent the single most important step the U.S. has ever taken to tackle dangerous climate disruption. President Obama is also re-establishing our leadership in the international arena by committing $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help protect vulnerable communities around the world from the impacts of climate disruption.
Climate change is a global challenge that will take strong international action to solve. The Lima Accord represents a historic first step for the global community, but much work remains to ensure the finalization of a strong international climate change agreement in Paris at the end of next year.