COP19—Warsaw Climate Conference

Author and Page information

  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Created Monday, December 02, 2013

On this page:

  1. Introduction
  2. Meeting outcome
  3. In context: common but differentiated responsibilities
  4. In context: Typhoon Haiyan
  5. Lack of urgency
  6. More information
  7. News stories from IPS

Introduction

November 11 – 23, 2013, Warsaw, Poland was the venue for the 19th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as the 19th Conference of the Parties — or COP 19.

The purpose of this conference was to create a loss and damage pillar of a new climate treaty to be finalized in 2015. The other two pillars discussed in previous meetings are mitigation (emission reductions) and adaptation pillars.

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Meeting outcome

The main outcome of the meeting was the establishment of an international mechanism for a loss and damage associated with climate change impacts .

Predictably, the loss and damage aspect of climate negotiations brought out the worst in some countries. Some developing countries were going to resist the idea of financing adaptation to climate change, while others appeared to hate the idea of climate reparations for poor countries. A few years earlier, industrialized nations had made a legal commitment to a global climate fund. Unsurprisingly, not much came of it, as Inter Press Service summarized,

In 2009 at the semi-infamous Copenhagen talks, the rich countries made a deal with developing countries, saying in effect: We’ll give you billions of dollars for adaptation, ramping up to 100 billion dollars a year by 2020, in exchange for our mitigation amounting to small CO2 cuts instead of making the big cuts that we should do.

The money to help poor countries adapt flowed for the first three years but has largely dried up. Warsaw was supposed to be the Finance COP to bring the promised money. That didn't happen.

Countries like Germany, Switzerland and others in Europe only managed to scrape together promises of 110 million dollars into the Green Climate Fund. Developing countries wanted a guarantee of 70 billion a year by 2016 but were blocked by the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan and others.

Stephen Lehey, South Scores 11th-Hour Win on Climate Loss and Damage, Inter Press Service, November 24, 2013

It got to the point that hundreds of representatives from various NGOs walked out of the negotiating rooms to protest against developed countries’ reluctance to commit to a loss and damage mechanism. And this was a day after the G77+China group of 133 developing countries walked out of negotiations over the same thing.

Looking through the briefing reports from the respected NGO, the Third World Network, It seems that on the surface, while an outcome was eventually thrashed out, there are many areas of weakness of sufficient vagueness to satisfy everyone that contentious issues that are seemingly resolved can still be challenged and changed in the future.

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In context: common but differentiated responsibilities

Many years ago all nations agreed that climate change was largely the result of actions from today’s industrialized nations, as carbon dioxide — the main greenhouse gas — stays in the atmosphere for decades. Yet, the poorest would end up suffering the most for a problem they largely did not cause. The approaches to mitigation (emissions reduction) would therefore be different for those groups of countries — the common but differentiated responsibilities principle.

It is in this context that the discussion for loss and damage has come about. And it is something that rich countries are keen to get rid of .

The years of resistance on this issue (and many others) means each time it is discussed again the reactions seem to get even more hostile. Combined with the lack of detailed context in the mainstream media coverage of this aspect, it then becomes easier each time to see culprits as China and India given their enormous greenhouse emissions in recent years, compared to the far greater amount by the industrialized nations over the longer period. See this site’s section on climate justice for more detailed background.

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In context: Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan was the largest cyclone on record to hit land

The meeting came at the time when the devastating Typhoon Haiyan had just killed thousands in the Philippines and affected millions more. It was an ominous warning of what could be more frequent as climate change continues to take hold.

It was also an example of how poorer nations could be affected by a problem they have largely not been responsible for and that while all the international outpouring of aid and assistance was incredibly welcome, that support for preventing and adapting to such events is paramount and efforts are urgently needed to curb emission increases.

In an emotional speech the Philippines lead negotiator for the conference, Naderev Saño, received a standing ovation for announcing that he will go on a hunger strike until a meaningful outcome is in sight.

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Lack of urgency

Inter Press Service (IPS) noted the seeming lack of urgency given the years and years of delay and watering down of meaningful action:

To have a good chance at staying under two degrees C, industrialised countries need to crash their CO2 emissions 10 percent per year starting in 2014, said Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester.

We can still do two C but not the way we're going, Anderson said on the sidelines of COP 19 in Warsaw. He wondered why negotiators on the inside are not reacting to the reality that it is too late for incremental changes.

I’m really stunned there is no sense of urgency here, he told IPS.

Stephen Lehey, South Scores 11th-Hour Win on Climate Loss and Damage, Inter Press Service, November 24, 2013

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More information

As the conference is still underway as this page is written, more information will be added here after the event is over.

For more about the issues from other organizations, here are some starting points:

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News stories from IPS

Below is a list of stories from Inter Press Service related to the Warsaw climate conference and its aftermath.

  1. Much more climate finance now!

    Tuesday, September 12, 2017

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 12 (IPS) - Funding developing countries' climate change mitigation and adaption efforts was never going to be easy. But it has become more uncertain with President Trump's decision to leave the Paris Accord. As a candidate, he threatened not to fulfil the modest US pledge of US$3 billion towards the 2020 target of US$100 billion yearly for the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

  2. Floods, Hurricanes, Droughts... When Climate Sets the Agenda

    Monday, September 11, 2017

    ROME, Sep 11 (IPS) - When officials and experts from all over the world started the first-ever environmental summit hosted by China, they were already aware that climate and weather-related disasters were already seriously beginning to set the international agenda – unprecedented floods in South Asia, strongest ever hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and catastrophic droughts striking the Horn of Africa, among the most impacting recent events.

  3. Climate-Smart Agriculture Urgently Needed in Africa

    Monday, September 04, 2017

    ROME, Sep 04 (IPS) - Africa contributes only 4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while six of the 10 most affected countries by climate change are in Africa, warns a major agricultural research for development partnership, while stressing the urgent need to scale up climate-smart agriculture, improve forestry and transform the productivity of water use.

  4. Climate Smart Crops: A Necessity for Future Food & Nutrition Security

    Thursday, August 31, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Aug 31 (IPS) - Climate change is taking a severe toll on farmers, as they watch their livelihoods disappear with the onslaught of floods, droughts and rising sea levels and temperatures. With agriculture currently employing over 1.3 billion people throughout the world, or close to 40 percent of the global workforce, it is imperative that we incorporate climate resilience into all aspects of crop breeding and food innovation.

  5. St. Lucia’s PM on Climate Change: “Time Is Against Us”

    Monday, August 28, 2017

    CASTRIES, St Lucia, Aug 28 (IPS) - A Caribbean Community (CARICOM) prime minister has reiterated the call for developed countries to assist Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their quest to combat the effects of climate change.

  6. Climate Migrants Might Reach One Billion by 2050

    Monday, August 21, 2017

    ROME, Aug 21 (IPS) - Imagine a world with as many as one billion people facing harsh climate change impacts resulting in devastating droughts and/or floods, extreme weather, destruction of natural resources, in particular lands, soils and water, and the consequence of severe livelihoods conditions, famine and starvation.

  7. What Does “Climate-Smart Agriculture” Really Mean? New Tool Breaks It Down

    Monday, August 14, 2017

    PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 14 (IPS) - A Trinidadian scientist has developed a mechanism for determining the degree of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) compliance with respect to projects, processes and products.

  8. New Tool Separates Wheat from Chaff for Climate-Smart Ag Finance

    Monday, August 14, 2017

    PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 14 (IPS) - Climate-smart agriculture seeks to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand. 

  9. Climate Scientists Use Forecasting Tools to Protect Caribbean Ways of Life

    Monday, August 07, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 07 (IPS) - Since 2013, Jamaica's Met Office has been using its Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) to forecast ‘below average' rainfall or drought across the island. The tool has allowed this northern Caribbean island to accurately predict several dry periods and droughts, including its most destructive episode in 2014 when an estimated one billion dollars in agricultural losses were incurred due to crop failures and wild fires caused by the exceptionally dry conditions.

  10. Climate Change-Poverty-Migration: The New, Inhuman ‘Bermuda Triangle’

    Friday, July 07, 2017

    ROME, Jul 07 (IPS) - World organisations, experts and scientists have been repeating it to satiety: climate change poses a major risk to the poorest rural populations in developing countries, dangerously threatening their lives and livelihoods and thus forcing them to migrate.

  11. Funding Climate Resilience Benefits All Nations – Yes, the U.S. Too

    Tuesday, July 04, 2017

    KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jul 04 (IPS) - A leading climate change mitigation and adaptation activist and former climate negotiator in the Caribbean says that the United States could protect its economic and political interest by helping the region to go green.

  12. Insurance: A Valuable Incentive for Small Farmers’ Climate Resilience

    Thursday, June 29, 2017

    PEMBA, Zambia, Jun 29 (IPS) - Frequent extreme weather and climate shifts pose a challenge to already vulnerable groups such as smallholder farmers in the developing world. Between 2004 and 2014, farmers are said to have endured the brunt of the 100-billion-dollar cost of climate-related disasters.

  13. Anyway to Help Slow Down Climate Change, Individually? Yes We Can!

    Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    ROME, Jun 27 (IPS) - It is no secret that the biggest responsible for climate change is greed. The greed of the world's largest private corporations, which blindly seek unlimited high financial benefits. And the greed of those politicians who are also blindly keen about holding their temporary power at any cost, thus not daring to challenge big business. Ordinary people can meanwhile help slow down such a hellish race.

  14. Europe Stands by Caribbean on Climate Funding

    Monday, June 26, 2017

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 26 (IPS) - A senior European Union (EU) official in the Caribbean said Europe is ready to continue the global leadership on the fight against climate change, including helping the poor and vulnerable countries in the region.

  15. IFAD’s President Houngbo Calls for Investment in Climate Smart Agriculture for Poverty-Free Future

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 16 (IPS) - Implementing climate-smart agriculture is critical to reduce hunger and poverty, according to International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) new president Gilbert Houngbo.

  16. Mixed Reactions to U.S. Withdrawal from Climate Deal

    Thursday, June 01, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 01 (IPS) - The United States is expected to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement, prompting mixed reactions from civil society and political representatives.

  17. Community Seed Banks: Securing Diversity for Climate Change Adaptation

    Tuesday, May 23, 2017

    ROME, May 23 (IPS) - For thousands of years, farmers have used genetic diversity to cope with weather variability and changing climate conditions. They have stored, planted, selected and improved seeds to continue producing food in a dynamic environment.

  18. Mapping and Responding to Climate-Induced Migration

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, May 18 (IPS) - As the world focuses on conflict-related migration and displacement, with an unprecedented 60 million fleeing from war and persecution, others are pointing to a less discussed trigger of population movements: climate change.

  19. Climate Change Has Changed the Geography of Honduras’ Caribbean Coast

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    BALFATE, Honduras, May 16 (IPS) - In Balfate, a rural municipality that includes fishing villages and small farms along Honduras' Caribbean coast, the effects of climate change are already felt on its famous scenery and beaches. The sea is relentlessly approaching the houses, while the ecosystem is deteriorating.

  20. Global Climate Policy in an Uncertain State of Flux

    Monday, May 08, 2017

    PENANG, Malaysia, May 08 (IPS) - Global climate change policy is in a state of flux, with all other countries waiting for the United States to decide whether to leave or remain in the Paris Agreement.

  21. Caribbean Rolls Out Plans to Reduce Climate Change Hazards

    Sunday, April 30, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 30 (IPS) - Climate change remains inextricably linked to the challenges of disaster risk reduction (DRR). And according to the head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Robert Glasser, the reduction of greenhouse gases is "the single most urgent global disaster risk treatment".

  22. Caribbean Scientists Work to Limit Climate Impact on Marine Environment

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 28 (IPS) - Caribbean scientists say fishermen are already seeing the effects of climate change, so for a dozen or so years they've been designing systems and strategies to reduce the impacts on the industry.

  23. Climate-Smart Agriculture – From Tanzania to Vietnam

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    ROME, Apr 28 (IPS) - As part of efforts to move towards "climate-smart" agriculture, several countries have shared In a meeting in Rome new experiences on how to produce food in ways that help farmers cope with the impacts of climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.

  24. New Generation Rallies to Climate Cause in Trinidad

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    PORT OF SPAIN, Apr 26 (IPS) - As two environmental activist groups in Trinidad and Tobago powered by young volunteers prepare to ramp up their climate change and sustainability activism, they are also contemplating their own sustainability and how they can become viable over the long-term.

  25. Nicaragua’s South Caribbean Coast Improves Readiness for Climate Change

    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    BLUEFIELDS, Nicaragua, Apr 22 (IPS) - The effects of climate change have hit Nicaragua's Caribbean coastal regions hard in the last decade and have forced the authorities and local residents to take protection and adaptation measures to address the phenomenon that has gradually undermined their safety and changed their way of life.

  26. Disease Burden Growing as Vector Insects Adapt to Climate Change

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 18 (IPS) - There were surprised gasps when University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor John Agard told journalists at an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in late November 2016 that mosquitoes were not only living longer, but were "breeding in septic tanks underground".

  27. Climate Funds for World's Poorest Slow to Materialise

    Friday, April 14, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 14 (IPS) - Climate change is making poor countries poorer, yet funding meant to address its economic consequences has been slow to materialise. Instead funding bodies are choosing to invest in green energy projects in middle-income countries.

  28. Climate Change Solutions Can’t Wait for U.S. Leadership

    Tuesday, April 04, 2017

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Apr 04 (IPS) - From tourism-dependent nations like Barbados to those rich with natural resources like Guyana, climate change poses one of the biggest challenges for the countries of the Caribbean.

  29. A Carbon Law to Protect the Climate

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 24 (IPS) - The Carbon Law says human carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced by half each decade starting in 2020. By following this "law" humanity can achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century to protect the global climate for current and future generations.

  30. Climate Breaks All Records: Hottest Year, Lowest Ice, Highest Sea Level

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    ROME, Mar 22 (IPS) - Climate has, once more, broken all records, with the year 2016 making history-highest-ever global temperature, exceptionally low sea ice, unabated sea level rise and ocean heat. And what is even worse-- extreme and unusual trends continue in 2017.

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Where next?

Related articles

  1. Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction
  2. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  3. Reactions to Climate Change Negotiations and Action
  4. Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction
  5. Global Warming, Spin and Media
  6. Climate Justice and Equity
  7. Climate Change Flexibility Mechanisms
  8. Carbon Sinks, Forests and Climate Change
  9. Climate Change Affects Biodiversity
  10. Global Warming and Population

Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created: Monday, December 02, 2013

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