Peruvian Minister of the Environment Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who is presiding over this year’s United Nations summit on climate change in Lima, said on Tuesday that building a national carbon inventory will be his country’s first step for reducing emissions and formulating an “intended nationally determined contribution” (INDC), which countries will submit March 2015.
INDCs, developed at last year’s climate summit in Warsaw, are publicly presented national commitments to reduce carbon emissions. They provide an initial understanding of how limiting global temperature increases to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Farenheit) can be achieved collectively, prior to the Paris Climate Summit next December.
The minister, speaking this week at a session at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20), said, “if INDCs are relative to mitigation, then we have to know what to mitigate and how quickly.”
According to Peru’s last national emissions inventory report from 2009, 39 percent of Peru’s emissions stem from deforestation and changing land use, 20 percent derive from agriculture, and 18 percent derive from energy sources.
Pulgar-Vidal said that “it is clear that our national contribution has to focus on the reality of forest management and agriculture, and obviously the reality of energy sources.”
Balancing economic development and the need to limit carbon emissions is a prevailing concern among many developing countries. “For each point of economic growth, [developing countries] had to increase their sources of energy, which led to an increase in emissions,” the minister said.
Pulgar Vidal also said that land rights and titles for Indigenous peoples “are fundamental in this struggle to halt the source of emissions.”
In September, four Indigenous leaders from the eastern Peruvian Amazon were killed in apparent retaliation for their environmental advocacy. The Indigenous leaders had spent years fighting illegal logging and demanding land titles from authorities in an effort to protect their lands from encroachment.
Earlier this year, scientists from the Carnegie Institute presented a report to Peru’s environmental ministry, detailing the carbon geography of the country’s Amazon basin forests, where 53 percent of Peru’s carbon is stored.
The minister also spoke about Peru’s PlanCC (Planificación Ante el Cámbio Climático—Planning for Climate Change), the ministry’s public-private initiative to generate proposals for climate change mitigation in areas such as waste management, energy efficiency, sustainable housing and transportation. The plan’s 77 environmental proposals will have to pass the United Nations INDC evaluation process early next year.
“[Peru] would like to continue to grow, but would like to do so sustainably,” Pulgar-Vidal said.
The international climate change conference in Lima will conclude on December 12.