LIMA Peru became the latest developing country to enact a domestic climate change initiative in the absence of a binding global pact, adopting a resolution on Thursday to lower carbon emissions in its fast-growing economy.
As one of the world's most geographically diverse places, Peru said it is already feeling the effects of a changing climate, such as melting tropical glaciers in the Andes and high levels of solar radiation.
Record rainfall in the Amazon basin this year has wrecked crops, spurring inflation and hurting specialty exports like coffee. Lima, on the Pacific coast, is often regarded as the world's driest capital next to Baghdad.
"If we don't do something we will have problems with water supplies along the coasts, we know there will be more droughts, more rains ... we are already seeing temperature changes," said Mariano Felipe Soldan, head of the government's strategic planning office.
Peru's long-term climate change plan aims to include more renewable fuels in Peru's energy matrix, switch to a low-carbon economy and curb illegal logging in the Amazon rain forest.
Peru's model is based on one developed by South Africa. Similar plans are being implemented in Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil.
The local plans were formed in part because an ambitious global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions has been delayed by disagreements between the developed and developing world.
Peru, which emits some 0.4 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, backed a goal set at last year's U.N. talks in Durban, South Africa to forge a wider international climate change deal by 2015 that would come into force by 2020.
But like many developing countries, Peru insists that any future global agreements to reduce emissions preserve its right to industrialize. It says big polluting countries should bear the brunt of emissions cuts.
"Not all countries can be treated as equals, developing economies must be taken into account by the international community," said Vice Minister of Foreign Relations Jose Beraun.
The seemingly intractable issue of climate change has been largely replaced by the less polarizing issue of sustainable development at the U.N.'s next big conference on the environment, the Earth Summit, in June.
(Reporting By Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Terry Wade and Christopher Wilson)