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Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, europarlementariër D66

Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, europarlementariër D66

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An air of optimism

"There is an air of optimism", told Mr Pachauri, the chair of the International Panel on Climate Change, me when he described the mood at the Conference of Parties (COP) in Lima, Peru. And I received the same message from some of the chief negotiators I spoke with today. The science behind climate change is now widely accepted, it's not being challenged anymore. It's clear that it has gained momentum considerably and that the world now seems committed to tackle climate change together.

But what are we doing with this momentum? We are obviously not making the fight against climate change an easy ride. It's still going to be incredibly difficult to reach an international agreement in Paris next year that is sufficient for staying below the 2 degrees limit. The main problems? Money, obviously, and the content of the so-called intended nationally determined contributions. The world had already decided to take this bottom-up approach. Countries have to decide themselves what they are going to do in order to tackle climate change. But it should not be made too easy, so the EU, USA and other developed countries insist on having some sort of international assessment of these national contributions. Also to ensure that the accumulation of these intensions is sufficient for the famous 2 degree limit.

The blog continues after the video.

And here the problem starts. Most of the developing countries want the rich world to take up tough commitments and have them assessed and monitored, but they do not want to apply these standards to themselves. The developed countries are clearly not against committing themselves, but they need some assurance that the developing world is taking them seriously as well. And that's where we stand in the Lima negotiating process. Obviously, there is a solution. That solution is called 'money'. The developing countries, who are not as united as they used to be, might agree with assessment obligations when the rich world is willing to pay for it. But it isn't. At least, not for all of it.

With three more negotiating days to go, that is the current state of play in Lima. The optimistic words of Mr Pachauri in mind, I'm confident that a solution will be found. With some more financial commitments from one side and more dedication from the other I'm sure we can translate the 'air of optimism' into an international agreement. Three more days, that's all we've got and all we need.   

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