The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in a November report that unless carbon emissions were cut sharply and rapidly, climate change would inflict severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts on people and the natural world.
Far from diminishing, global carbon dioxide emissions are on track to reach 44 tons this year, 2.5 percent more than in 2013, according to the Global Carbon Project.
“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in the message,” said the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, at the time. “Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.”
It is against this grim backdrop and with these ambitious goals in sight that world leaders from nearly 200 countries arrived in Peru on Dec. 1 for the 20th Climate Change Conference sponsored by the United Nations. The 12-day meeting in Lima is a staging point towards another summit in Paris next year, where it is hoped that a global deal on cutting emissions will be reached for the first time.
“If what we want by Paris is a new binding global climate agreement, then what we need to produce is a solid working draft,” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s environment minister, said. Americas Now correspondent Stephen Gibbs reported this story from Lima, Peru.