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José Luis Lezama Discusses the Outlook for Climate Negotiations

by Fernanda Rezende - published Aug 27, 2015 11:55 AM - - last modified Aug 27, 2015 05:47 PM
Contributors: Translation by Carlos Malferrari
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Fernanda Rezende

José Luis Lezama de la TorreThe outlook for the 21st Conference of the Parties, COP-21, will be discussed by José Luis Lezama, researcher from the Colegio de Mexico and an expert on environmental policy, at the conference Las Negociaciones Climáticas de Paris 2015 y el Futuro del Clima Planetario, to be held on September 17, at 3:30 pm at the IEA’s Events Room. Lezama will speak in Spanish, without simultaneous translation.

Scheduled for December in Paris, the COP-21 will attempt to reach a new, legally binding universal agreement on climate to limit global warming to less than 2 °C. This would be an unprecedented feat in the 20 years of climate negotiations under the aegis of the United Nations. Every year, the COP brings together the 195 signatory nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), created during the Rio-92 conference.

“The climate summit in Paris will be a date of no return, a D-Day, a Year 1000,” says Lezama. For him, the expectations regarding the 2015 conference are due to the possibility that its decisions might avoid a disaster of major proportions or an “apocalyptic end for humankind.”

However, as Lezama explained, the agreements and disagreements between nations follow a complex plot: they derive from “the political and economic logic of the relations between countries, the deep articulations and interdependencies between the developed and underdeveloped, between their elites, their poor and the ecosystems that support the socioeconomic and political systems of both worlds.”

An example of what he is referring to happened during the COP-15. Held in Copenhagen, Denmark, the 2009 meeting went down in history for the repression of the demonstrations organized by environmental NGOs and for the inability of Danish leaders to coalesce. At the time, the hosts dreamed of reaching agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted at COP-3.

This is the second event that the IEA holds to discuss the prospects of the Conferences of the Parties. In late 2014, the Institute’s Research Group on Environment and Society organized the seminar “COP-20: What Can We Expect?”, coordinated by Pedro Jacobi.