Lima to Paris: Peru, France together on the road to COP21 - The Nation

Six months ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21), Peru and France are working hand in hand to create favourable conditions for fruitful negotiations leading to successful results in Paris. The international community aims at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the global average rise in temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Acting on the latest scientific report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the G-7 nations are supporting the overall objective of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by between 40 and 70 per cent by 2050. Negotiations should lead to a universal, ambitious and legally binding agreement among all the parties involved.

Peru, as host of last year's conference and as current president of the Conference of the Parties (COP), is utilising its excellent knowledge of the COP process and vision for negotiations to support France's preparations for the COP21. Peru and France are working in tandem with the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to define a common strategy. On November 30, France will take over the presidency of COP21. 

France has a tremendous responsibility in organising the November 30-to-December 11 Paris conference. Fully committed in their leading roles, Peru and France are listening to all parties in order to understand the concerns and expectations of each in this preparatory period ahead of the conference. Both countries are also committed to staying neutral, refusing to favour any one position over any other. In close cooperation with Peru, France is bidding to raise awareness and provide technical support through governments, companies, civil society and even through religious and ethnic communities.

Parties to the conference have agreed to submit Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) before September 30. The INDC constitute a first step in aiding negotiators' understanding of each state's position. The INDC are a valuable tool which reflects the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities, in light of different national circumstances. INDC and the text formalised in February in Geneva will be the basis for negotiations at COP21. This text was reviewed a few days ago in Bonn, with a view to producing a shorter and more concise version that will become legally binding agreement after COP21.

Both Peru and France have to lead by example. France has already submitted its INDC. France has agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030, when renewable energies should constitute 32 per cent of the country's energy mix.

Peru has initiated an internal consultation process to validate its proposed national INDC. An intersectorial commission has been working intensely on the technical details for a comprehensive proposal that sets national targets for emissions reductions with regard to a business-as-usual scenario. It includes actions in sectors such as industrial processes, energy, agriculture, forestry, sustainable transport and waste. The proposed contribution has been submitted to a public consultation and citizen participation for final approval in August before its expected presentation in September. Peru also plans to substantially improve the protection of vulnerable populations and damage due to climate variations and to the El Nino phenomenon.

In total, 47 states have so far submitted INDC. 

In Thailand, the process of gauging the national contribution is ongoing, and focused on two sectors: energy and transport. We are confident Bangkok will be able to present its finalised position by next September.

As such, COP21 is not a destination but a starting point. According to the latest scientific studies, we have less than 30 years to lower emissions dramatically and foster a carbon-neutral scenario that will prevent a breach of the 2C "safe" limit for global warming. Hence, the need for action is urgent. 

To boost a low-carbon economy, we must first decide to put a price on carbon. French President Francois Hollande urged a move in this direction at the opening ceremony of the "Business and Climate Summit" in Paris last May, where Peru's Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal was among some 1,000 business leaders and ministers in attendance. 

The next step is to accelerate the evolution of the financial system into a "climate economy" that links progress with growth through returns on clean energy investments, "green" bonds and other financial and economic innovations.

At COP 15 in Copenhagen six years' ago, the G-7 and other developed countries pledged US$30 billion to the developing world over the next three years, rising to $100 billion per year by 2020, to help poor countries adapt to climate change. Part of this amount should go to the Green Climate Fund. So far, this fund has capitalised $10.2 billion from public sources. The private sector is also engaged in efforts to make COP21 a success, as is civil society. Representatives from both these spheres will have the opportunity to interact in a dedicated space in Paris. Both are fully involved in the "Lima-Paris Action Agenda", a joint initiative launched by Peru, France, the Secretary General of the UN and the UNFCCC Secretariat. This agenda is currently being forged from a global process to gather concrete solutions to handle climate deregulation locally. We affirm that it is of the upmost importance that ordinary citizens are part of the process leading to the Paris conference, hence our dedication to reaching out to civil society as a whole. 

The mobilisation of Peru, France and also Thailand along with the international community at large will create positive momentum for building concrete solutions towards a low-carbon and resilient society. We can and, indeed, must build a better future for the next generations. It is our responsibility. We are writing our own future and it is up to us to write it well at COP 21. 

Felix Ricardo Americo Antonio Denegri Boza is Peru's Ambassador to Thailand.

Thierry Viteau is the Ambassador of France to Thailand.