Negotiations towards agreeing a global climate deal in 2015 are progressing, but some key issues are still preventing parties from reaching consensus on its legal form, Peru's environment minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said.
"The process toward Lima and then Paris is moving ahead," Pulgar-Vidal said. The minister will act as president of this year's 20th Conference of the Parties (Cop 20) in Lima, Peru.
Parties are negotiating a new, climate change deal under the UN Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) that is meant to be agreed at next year's Cop 21 in Paris, France.
"There are still four sensitive issues in this discussion. The first is what does "legally binding" actually mean? Does it apply to the whole agreement or only certain clauses?" Pulgar-Vidal told Argus.
"The second is the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). Everyone agrees on the validity of the principle, but countries are interpreting what it means differently. The question is how it will materialise in the agreement," Pulgar-Vidal said.
The third issue is measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), which is closely linked to CBDR, and the fourth is that of financing, including for mitigation and adaptation and capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund, he said.
The success of Cop 20 in Lima will depend on progress made in preparing a draft for the new global climate deal to be agreed in Paris next year, Pulgar-Vidal said. The ADP, at its last meeting in June, prepared a document, called a "non-paper", that will serve as the foundation for this draft.
"We need to consolidate in a document the pre-2020 ambition measures, approve the information that will be included in national contributions, ensure progress on climate financing and move ahead in the implementation of Redd-plus projects," Pulgar-Vidal said.
Peru views the issue of financing as critical and "it is definitely the objective to include financing in the draft", he said.
Key finance-related issues that need to be decided are — a clear political signal of resources being earmarked for the Green Climate Fund, transparency, an enabling environment for financing, and the level of financing reflected in the agreement, Pulgar-Vidal said.
Prior to Cop 20, there will be a high-level session in Lima on climate financing, as well as a session on climate financing during the annual World Bank-IMF meeting in October in Washington, US.
Peru sees UN general-secretary Ban Ki-moon's climate summit in New York, US, in September as an opportunity to build political support for Cop 20 and Cop 21. Hence Peru's president Ollanta Humala will attend the summit, forming part of the presiding team with the UN secretary-general and French president Francois Hollande.
"We are hoping to hear political commitments from the heads of state who attend the meeting in New York," Pulgar-Vidal said.
Whereas the signs are encouraging that China and the US will come forward with their intended nationally determined contributions under the 2015 climate deal by early next year, others such as Australia, Canada and Japan are yet to specify a position, he said.
"But there are possibilities to find common ground as the negotiations move forward," Pulgar-Vidal said.
"The world is changing and in the climate debate the traditional political and economic blocks are different, with countries focused more on domestic issues. There is a general agreement that change is needed, but we cannot forget that there are many complex domestic issues in nearly 200 countries at play," he said.
"We need to strive for consensus, particularly on the complicated issues. This is going to be a difficult sell on some of the issues where there are profound divisions," Pulgar-Vidal said.