On 1 December 2016, adelphi researchers and the former Minister of Environment of Peru, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, discussed the challenges and opportunities of a low-carbon transition during the closing event of the ECC Exhibition at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP).
The Exhibition Environment Conflict and Cooperation (ECC) in Lima ended with a panel discussion on Low-Carbon Economic Transition: the Role of International Cooperation. It was co-organised by adelphi, the Peruvian NGO Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA) and the university organisation Clima de Cambios, with support of the German Federal Foreign Office. The event welcomed speakers Daria Ivleva (Research Analyst, adelphi), Stephan Wolters (Senior Project Manager, adelphi), and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal (Climate and Energy Lead, WWF and former environmental minister of Peru).
Daria Ivleva thanked the project partners and the event participants for the opportunity to show the exhibition at PUCP, as this kind of public outreach “is one of the ways to enhance transboundary cooperation in order to support better resource management and to show the possibilities for collaboration”.
Ivleva maintained that the ECC Exhibition is highly relevant in the South American context, because, despite the region’s diversity, it faces common challenges, such as land use change, forest degradation, water resource management, urbanisation, all of which lead to the question how development choices exert pressure on environmental resources. The specific exhibition module on South America looks into these issues, and also offers insights on the water, energy and food nexus. These interconnections are crucial to understand the impacts of climate change.
She stated: “We have to reflect on the development paths we follow, including lifestyles and economic structures we maintain, in terms of their environmental and societal impacts, as well as tensions which may arise and that can potentially undermine the legitimacy basis of the political system itself.”
Stephan Wolters spoke of the importance of a low-carbon economic transition and the implications for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Existing national mitigation commitments are not sufficient to keep the global temperature increase below 2°C. “There is still much to do, and this is also a task for international cooperation and climate diplomacy,” he said, adding “I do have hope that we will be able to raise ambition, for economic reasons: according to studies, up to 90 % of the measures to embark on the 2°C pathway are net-beneficial for national economies.”
Wolters highlighted the fact that more economic mitigation measures are possible in Peru than the NDC accounts for, which means, there is potential for intensifying climate action. “The transition is not easy and many challenges persist, for instance, path dependency (is the tendency to maintain the present economic equilibrium, because a change would imply additional effort),” he pointed out.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal gave a comprehensive overview of the international climate policy framework and its latest developments, especially the Paris Agreement. Referring to the Agreement, he insisted that “one has to understand it in its entirety: what it means to have finally reached this agreement and what this achievement represents”. At the same time, the future of the Agreement depends on the same elements that made it possible. “The one million question is whether the Paris Agreement is a good agreement. And my answer to this is that it definitely is, because it includes the right elements to maintain a long-term perspective. Obviously, it does not solve all the problems immediately, but it does establish a process that puts the world on the path of gradual compliance with the objectives of the Agreement.”
At the end, Pulgar-Vidal highlighted the role of science in climate politics. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was not only able to provide a more reliable scientific knowledge base, but also to give policy recommendations, which I think is fundamental: to turn science into a means for political decision-making.”
Since 2005, the ECC exhibition visited over 40 cities in 17 countries. It was conceived and realised by adelphi as a touring exhibition at the initiative of the German Federal Foreign Office, and is currently part of the Climate Diplomacy initiative. The regional module on South America was developed in collaboration with Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (FFLA).
The best resource for all of our 21st Century Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Is Climate Policy content is the official website, hosted by the Wilson Center and adelphi. But the ECC editors are also collecting the topics here for eager readers.
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