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Climate Decision Threatens Rights of Present and Future Generations

December 14, 2014

Lima, Peru – Climate talks ended today with a decision that wholly fails to set us on a path that will protect the rights of peoples and communities impacted by climate change.  “Countries have failed to represent the interests of their people in these negotiations,” said Niranjali Amerasinghe, Director of the Climate & Energy Program at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). “The decision they adopted is empty and does not come close to the ambition required to deal with the climate crisis. It is unacceptable.”

The “Lima Call for Climate Action” fails to set concrete milestones for increasing mitigation in the short-term and for scaling up developed country support for mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries. The scope of the new 2015 climate agreement is conspicuously silent on loss and damage, an issue that is critical for vulnerable communities and countries. There was also effectively no outcome on forest protection, with key issues related to social and environmental safeguards pushed to next year.

“While forest defenders like Edwin Chota and José Isidro Tendetza Antún are killed for standing up against deforestation, there was no progress to ensure that rights are respected in forest-related climate initiatives,” said CIEL Staff Attorney Allie Silverman. “As the first major climate meeting held in the Amazon Basin, we expected a robust outcome on forests, land use, and rights issues in Lima. Instead, we got nothing.”

Earlier this week, on International Human Rights Day, people marched on the streets of Lima in defense of their right to a healthy environment. The voices and momentum of the climate movement are growing stronger, demanding greater ambition in the national targets for the new climate agreement to be adopted next year in Paris.

“Acknowledging climate change as one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time, over 200 organizations have called for rights to be fully integrated in these negotiations and in the new climate agreement,” said Alyssa Johl, Senior Attorney at CIEL. “However, the Lima outcome does not respond to these calls.”

The Lima outcome does not reflect the much-needed progress that the world needs and had hoped to see. “After this outcome, the road to an effective climate agreement in Paris will be an uphill one. Developed countries, in particular, need to show that they are committed to solving a problem that they are most responsible for causing. As countries head into 2015, we will be calling for ambitious, rights-based action every step of the way. The climate crisis before us requires nothing less,” concluded Amerasinghe.

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Press Contact: Amanda Kistler, akistler@ciel.org, 202.742.5832


Center for International Environmental Law uses international law and institutions to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy in the global public interest, including through legal counsel, policy research, analysis, education, training and capacity building.