When stepping onto the Underground in London, a voice rings out, “Mind the gap.” Perhaps this should also be echoing through the halls of the COP20 venue in Lima, Peru, this week. The pre-2020 ambition gap is often stated in terms of what must be done differently from business as usual to keep GHGs from warming the global temperature 2°C (relative to pre-industrial levels) before the year 2020.
The most recent IPCC Report (AR5) states with high confidence that there are opportunities through mitigation, adaptation and integrated responses to narrow this gap. The ADP meetings held in Lima during this session are ripe with discussions of interim measures to be taken prior to the next year’s Paris COP21. On Tuesday, the Parties discussed a draft text which is set to accelerate implementation of climate action. Over the next 10 days, Parties will negotiate which gap-closing measures they are willing to take.
Parties are looking to negotiate specific texts and elements, while in Lima, that can be solidified at the upcoming COP21 in Paris; without concrete commitments in place upon leaving Lima next week, it will be very difficult to give Congresses, Parliaments and other governing bodies time to ‘okay’ these commitments before COP21. Many Parties have voiced that it is very late to still be negotiating texts for the Paris agreement – yet the negotiations must continue.
Any agreement signed in Paris next year will become effective in 2020. This leaves a ‘gap’ of the next five years – many Parties are already suffering from climate change and are calling for a developed nations to make commitments now. The opening session of the ADP on Tuesday allowed G77+China to lead the way in calling for accelerated action by developed countries through financing and technology transfer for developing countries. Although it is early in the process, Parties seem to be mindful, at least, that there is gap.