Lima—With the announcement of new pledges to the Green Climate Fund, bringing the total to more than $10 billion, negotiators at the Lima Climate Conference said Wednesday they were optimistic that a successful outcome would be achieved, despite the slow pace of progress in the talks.

The latest round of contributions included pledges to the Fund from several developing countries, including Peru and Colombia, as well as Belgium and Australia.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the new pledges, and said, in a statement, that he was confident this initial capitalisation will enhance trust among Parties who have been working together for the last two years to craft a new climate change agreement by next year.

“This is just a beginning but it will spur further momentum to define a credible pathway to ramp-up climate finance to $100 billion a year by 2020.”

The Secretary-General, in an address to the high-level meeting in Lima, said he was confident in Peru’s leadership of the Conference of the Parties (COP), and that he would be able to leave Lima knowing that a firm foundation had been laid for a meaningful and global climate change agreement next year in Paris.

“Let’s make Lima COP 20 a place we write our history and we reaffirm our commitment to make this world a better for all.”

Mr. Ban noted that it will not be possible to achieve many of the sustainable development goals for 2030 that he presented last week in a report delivered to the General Assembly unless progress is made on climate change.

“Poverty eradication and environmental sustainability go hand in hand,” he said. “We cannot eliminate poverty and build sustainable economies without strengthening climate resilience and utilizing cleaner, safer sources of energy.
“At the same time, we cannot fully meet the climate challenge without enhancing prosperity, equity and environmental protection for all.”

Though he noted that time is in short supply, Mr. Ban said it is not too late to avert the worst impacts of climate change. If the world moves quickly toward achieving sustainable development while meeting the challenges of climate change, “we still have time to keep this world sustainable for all.”

Mr. Ban applauded contributors to the Green Climate Fund, which was created to support climate action in developing countries. After the fund surpassed its initial $10 billion goal on Tuesday, additional pledges were made Wednesday by a number of developing countries.

Such pledges send a powerful signal, Mr. Ban said. “If we are to put the world on a low-carbon, climate-resilient pathway, we need leadership from all corners of the world.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Ban said the conference attendees have a moral and political responsibility to act quickly. “Science has not only spoken; it is shouting from the rooftop,” he said. “Our planet has a fever, and it is getting hotter every day. We can no longer burn our way to prosperity. We must take climate action now. And the more we delay, the more we will have to pay.”

The momentum in Lima can be traced to the 23 September Climate Summit hosted by Mr. Ban at UN Headquarters in New York, which was attended by more than 100 world leaders.

Since then, the countries of the European Union have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030, and the United States and China – the world’s two largest economies and largest carbon emitters –have also set emissions reductions goals.

In addition to leaving Lima with a draft text for the Paris agreement “that provides a clear and solid foundation for negotiations next year,” Mr. Ban said Lima participants “must reach a common understanding of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions,” or INDCs, spelling out individual countries’ plans.

And he encouraged all parties, particularly those representing major economies, to submit their plans to the world body by the end of March 2015.

Mr. Ban called for adaptation support and resilience building to be prioritized for the world’s most vulnerable populations – especially the least-developed countries and small-island developing states.

And he called for all actors – including members of the private sector, civil society and others – to scale up and catalyse more action along an ambitious timeline.

Finally, Mr. Ban called for those countries that have not yet done so to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which establishes a second commitment period for the international emissions reduction treaty.

As of 5 December, 21 countries had ratified the amendment.

Though Lima represents the 20th COP and the eighth attended by Mr. Ban, this one appears different, he told reporters on Tuesday. “I see some signs of optimism and positive willingness to engage each among others, between developing and developed worlds,” he said.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that member states will have a good result in Lima.”