In the end, the climate conference in Lima (“COP 20”) was able to produce an agreement signed by 190 countries. This is no small feat, although it took weakening goals and eviscerating review procedures to accomplish. The Lima Accord calls for all countries to submit plans for reducing greenhouse emissions as a foundation for a deal in Paris in December. But the tentative term for these submissions—Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)—suggests how far the world has come from enforceable emission reductions with individual country targets aggregating to the reductions needed to stabilize the climate. By contrast, countries can arbitrarily choose their INDC, do not have to specify their plans for meeting goals, and will not be subject to formal reviews. As the world drifts deeper into a danger zone, we must remember that the climate does not negotiate. With the stakes in Paris very high and political will low, but rising, perhaps Lima will serve as a platform for loftier ambitions—and inspire the public protest to make it so.
Bodes well for the future