The agreement signed at the Lima climate change conference was supposed to be a triumph of diplomacy, but the reality is exactly the opposite. While the agreement means that there is now global unanimity on the need for action to combat climate change, the text of the agreement falls on almost all the indicators that the Lima agreement argues that getting the two major emitters of greenhouse gases, China and the United States, to commit to the need to combat climate change is itself a great success. Even more so since the recent U.S. general election, Republicans have stepped up – many of them still believe that climate change is not due to human action. Chandra Bhushan, deputy director of the New Delhi Center for Science and Environment, called the Lima agreement a major setback for a valid agreement in Paris. “The principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacity (CBDR), the cornerstone of the climate negotiations, has been further watered down and compromised, showing developed countries the way forward to continue their high emissions,” Bhushan said. He added that the Lima summit would be remembered because of the “wrong process, lack of transparency and inclusion.” In a blog post titled “Limping home from Lima,” Aldan Meyer, director of policy and strategy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge Massachusetts-based network, said that “climate change is progressing, but too many leaders are acting like we have all the time in the world.” If the world remains on the path marked by the recent bilateral agreement between the United States and China on emissions reduction and the Lima agreement, the global average temperature will exceed 2 degrees Celsius. Beyond this threshold, scientists believe, the magnitude of climate change is likely catastrophic. When 194 countries come together for a climate change conference and disperse, while most nations say they have something, it should be a triumph of diplomacy. But the weakness of the agreement that the oppressed negotiators brought home to the Conference of the Parties (CoP), concluded on 14 December in Lima, is quite the opposite.

The DLP does not object to a country receiving its fair share. Nor would we refuse a genuine agreement to improve living standards in underdeveloped countries, but the Lima Declaration is not such an agreement. As time has said, his “demands” were more insidious than we have suggested.