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. Civil Society Summit Calls for International Action on Climate Migration

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017

    SUVA, Fiji, Dec 12 (IPS) - Civil society leaders from more than 100 countries called for action on climate-induced displacement at a summit in Suva, Fiji last week.

  2. The Climate Effect of the Trump Administration

    Wednesday, December 06, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Dec 06 (IPS) - Over its first year, the Trump administration has taken extreme steps to unravel progress on U.S. climate action domestically. Last month, President Trump's administration reiterated its intention to abandon the Paris Agreement, isolating the United States internationally.

  3. Lobbying & Sponsorships at COP23 Corrupted Climate Talks

    Monday, November 20, 2017

    ABU DHABI, Nov 20 (IPS) - The world's nations got together in Bonn, Germany, for the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties (COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where nearly 200 countries and some 23, 000 delegates met to discuss and influence the negotiations over the rulebook of the Paris Agreement.

  4. Financing Will Continue to be Key Issue in Battling Climate Change

    Friday, November 17, 2017

    BONN, Nov 17 (IPS) - "The Bonn climate talks were foundational, paving the way to finalize the rules that underpin the Paris Agreement next year and setting the stage for countries to commit to enhance their national climate plans by 2020. On both counts, the climate talks in Bonn were a success. However, negotiators have plenty of homework to do to get there.

  5. Climate Change is Already Upon us & Will Only Worsen in Short Term

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    BONN, Nov 15 (IPS) - It is fitting that this year's conference of parties (on climate change, COP 23) is led by Fiji, a nation on the frontlines.

  6. How to Ensure Farming is More Than Just a Footnote in Climate Talks

    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    BONN, Germany, Nov 14 (IPS) - If change comes from within, then climate action in agriculture must logically start with farmers. They need to find ways to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

    But when that involves 800 million of the world's poorest people, they are going to require systematic and dedicated support.

  7. How US Is Taking Climate Action Without Trump

    Monday, November 13, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 13 (IPS) - Even after President Trump announced his intention to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, much of the country is moving forward with climate action anyway. According to new analysismore than 2,500 non-federal actors representing more than half the U.S. economy—including cities, counties, states, businesses and more—have pledged their support for the Paris Agreement goals. If these actors were their own country, they'd be the world's third-largest economy.

  8. Economic Development vs. Climate Action: Rebutting Deniers and Wafflers

    Sunday, November 12, 2017

    SAN FRANCISCO, California, Nov 12 (IPS) - As negotiators meet in Bonn to put together a deal to implement the Paris Agreement, John Holdren, a professor of environmental policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, stressed that economic development and climate change mitigation and adaptation are not ‘either-or' but must be pursued together.

  9. Climate Change Poses Alarming Threat to Food Security in Pacific Islands

    Sunday, November 12, 2017

    ROME, Nov 12 (IPS) - A high-level meeting of political leaders -– hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) -– sounded an ominous warning: that climate change poses an "alarming threat to food systems and food security in the Pacific islands."

  10. Will Policymakers Listen to Climate Change Science This Time Around?

    Wednesday, November 08, 2017

    BREMERHAVEN, Germany, Nov 08 (IPS) - Climate change is altering the ecosystem of our oceans, a big carbon sink and prime source of protein from fish. This is old news.

  11. Pacific Communities Building Resilience in the Face of Climate Change*

    Wednesday, November 08, 2017

    SUVA, Fiji, Nov 08 (IPS) - In the Pacific, climate change is an ever-present threat, undermining human rights, livelihoods, and security. Pacific Islanders are working with courage and resolve to build the resilience of their communities and to catalyse international actions towards ending global carbon pollution.

  12. Conservation Agriculture: Zambia’s Double-edged Sword against Climate Change and Hunger

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017

    PEMBA, Zambia, Nov 07 (IPS) - As governments gather in Bonn, Germany for the next two weeks to hammer out a blueprint for implementation of the global climate change treaty signed in Paris in 2015, a major focus will be on emissions reductions to keep the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C by 2020.

  13. 4 Reasons for Countries to Enhance Climate Commitments by 2020

    Tuesday, November 07, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 07 (IPS) - The Paris Agreement was widely hailed for drawing all nations together to tackle climate change, based on bottom-up contributions that will be reviewed and strengthened over time. These contributions are aimed at achieving the ambitious but necessary long-term goals of limiting global temperature increase and building resilience to climate impacts.

  14. Climate Change Summit a Step Further, Yes... But Where To?

    Monday, November 06, 2017

    ROME, Nov 06 (IPS) - The UN Climate Change Summit in Bonn is a step further, most experts say. Fine, but towards what?

  15. Got Climate Questions? Climate Watch Has Answers

    Friday, November 03, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Nov 03 (IPS) - Negotiators and stakeholders headed to Bonn, Germany, for next week's UN climate summit continue to confront a range of questions surrounding one essential query: How do we meet the imperative to lower greenhouse gas emissions now — quickly — to minimize the most severe impacts of climate change?

  16. Latin America Heads to Climate Summit with Uneven Progress

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017

    MEXICO CITY, Oct 25 (IPS) - Difficult to measure and unequal in their scope are the advances that the countries of Latin America will have to show, regarding their voluntary commitments to greenhouse gas emissions, during the climate summit to be hosted by Bonn, Germany in November.

  17. Innovation for Climate-Smart Agriculture Key to Ending Hunger in Kenya

    Monday, October 23, 2017

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 (IPS) - Some parts of Kenya are reeling from the effects of probably the worst drought in the last 20 years. With nearly 3.4 million people food insecure, Kenya's food security prognosis looks gloomy, with climate change and natural resource depletion set to pose even greater risks in the long term.

  18. Can Index Insurance Make African Farmers Climate-resilient?

    Friday, October 20, 2017

    ADDIS ABABA, Oct 20 (IPS) - Index insurance is being promoted as a solution to protect climate affected smallholder farmers in Africa. This type of micro insurance is slowly gaining ground as a way of compensating farmers for lost crops and livestock due to climate change.

  19. The IMF and Climate Change: Three Things Christine Lagarde Can Do to Cement Her Legacy on Climate

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    WASHINGTON DC, Oct 11 (IPS) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and climate change do not often appear in the same headline together. Indeed, environmental issues have been, at most, peripheral to the Fund's core functions. But now economists inside and outside the IMF are beginning to understand that climate change has significant implications for national and regional economies, and so it's worth reconsidering the Fund's role in addressing the climate challenge.

  20. Making an Economic Case for Climate Action

    Monday, October 02, 2017

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 02 (IPS) - Having faced a year of record temperatures and devastating hurricanes, the United States stands more to lose if it doesn't take steps to reduce the risk and impact of climate change, according to a new report.

  21. 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).

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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. 

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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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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