2014 Conferences

As diplomats met at the United Nations Climate Summit (COP20) in Lima, Peru (1 to 12 December 2014) we were pleased to run 2 Climate Conferences in the South West.

In Cheltenham, on the 3rd December, 5 Gloucestershire secondary schools sent 14 country delegations to the Council Chambers.
As with COP20, the teams of school students were tasked to prepare a draft of a new global agreement to be finalised in Paris 2015, and to provide their own national targets for the reduction of Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). 
Whilst climate talks almost ground to a halt in Lima, only to rescued by an eleventh hour draft agreement after the conference was officially over, in Cheltenham strong allegiances were formed during the negotiations. 
During initial negotiations developing countries, such as Bangladesh and the Maldives, gave a clear message about their vulnerability to the effects of Climate Change. The Industrialised countries came under pressure to increase their own targets for CO2 reduction, and the big emerging economies, Brazil, China and India, were asked by other nations to commit to legally binding targets – the original Kyoto Protocol only tied Industrialised countries in legally. Russia led the call for a re-evaluation of the country groupings, calling instead for nations to be considered individually. 
Following a rousing talk from Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham, who said the focus for the world is for nations now to ‘reduce carbon intensities’: economic growth but without the old reliance on fossil fuels so that countries work to ‘decarbonise the economy,’ the Conference had new impetus to make their proposals work. 
In discussions, leadership from a number of industrialised and developing nations helped to eliminate two stumbling blocks. The United States agreed to new treaty targets being legally binding, and committed to presenting the proposals to Congress for ratification. In response, Australia set out a target of a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020, a large increase from its current 5% target.
In the end the Conference voted, with the exception of Russian Federation, for a new international treaty, elements of which will be legally binding (including the targets).
In South Gloucestershire, on the 8th December, 6 schools sent 15 country delegations to Kingswood Council Chambers.