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. Our Forests Provide the World With Oxygen But we Need More Climate Change Finance - HFLD Countries

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    PARAMARIBO, Feb 13 (IPS) - Suriname, the most forested country in the world, is this week hosting a major international conference on climate financing for High Forest Cover and Low Deforestation (HFLD) countries.

  2. Q&A: Continuous Struggle for the Caribbean to be Heard in Climate Change Discussions

    Tuesday, February 05, 2019

    GEORGETOWN, Feb 05 (IPS) - IPS correspondent Desmond Brown interviews DOUGLAS SLATER, Assistant Secretary General at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.

    In recent years Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have experienced escalated climate change impacts from hurricanes, tropical storms and other weather-related events thanks to global warming of 1.0 ° Celsius (C) above pre-industrial levels. And it has had adverse effects on particularly vulnerable countries and communities.

  3. Desertification, Land Degradation and Climate Change Go Hand in Hand

    Monday, January 28, 2019

    GEORGETOWN, Jan 28 (IPS) - The link between desertification, land degradation and climate change is among several issues occupying the attention of the 197 Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for the next three days.

  4. Sum & Substance of Climate Diplomacy

    Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    NEW DELHI, Jan 23 (IPS) - As I was attending the 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—to create a rulebook to operationalise the Paris Agreement—in Katowice, Poland, it dawned on me, like never before, that the negotiations were taking place in a make-believe world.

  5. Davos, Inequality & the Climate Emergency

    Friday, January 18, 2019

    BERLIN, Jan 18 (IPS) - Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International and is on the steering committee of the global Fight Inequality alliance.

    Four of the top five most impactful threats in this year's World Economic Forum´s Global Risks report are related to climate change. The report warns that we are "sleepwalking to disaster" . But that is not true.

    The disaster is already here, it´s not something we are still walking towards. Climate change is no future threat, it´s a current one. We have entered a new phase, one in which the impacts are coming faster, with greater intensity.

  6. Climate Change Threatens Mexico's Atlantic Coast

    Thursday, January 17, 2019

    FELIPE CARRILLO PUERTO, Mexico, Jan 17 (IPS) - "I couldn't plant my cornfield in May, because it rained too early. I lost everything," lamented Marcos Canté, an indigenous farmer, as he recounted the ravages that climate change is wreaking on this municipality on Mexico's Caribbean coast.

  7. Q&A: 'There's a Lot More Climate Finance Available than People Think'

    Friday, January 11, 2019

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Jan 11 (IPS) - IPS Correspondent Yazeed Kamaldien speaks to DR. FRANK RIJSBERMAN, director-general of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) about accessing finance for climate mitigation.

    While growth in the green economy looks promising, government regulation and a business-as-usual approach are among the hurdles inhibiting cleaner energy production.

  8. Climate Change: Complex Challenges for Agriculture

    Tuesday, January 08, 2019

    ZURICH, Switzerland, Jan 08 (IPS) - Peter Lüthi is in Communications at the Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, Zurich.

    The unusually hot summer of 2018 showed that climate change affects a central part of our lives: agriculture. The severe drought in Liechtenstein led to large losses in the hay harvest.

  9. As Climate Change Pummels Agriculture, Irrigation Offers the Best Protection

    Wednesday, December 19, 2018

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Dec 19 (IPS) - The changing climate and extreme weather events are affecting agricultural productivity in Africa to such an extent that a panel of experts are urging governments to prioritise and invest in irrigation to ensure food security.

  10. African Media Poorly Represented at the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    KATOWICE, Poland, Dec 14 (IPS) - As negotiations at the United Nations conference on climate change come to a close, the highest expectation is that finally, there will be a rulebook to guide countries on what should be done to slow down greenhouse gas emissions that make the earth warmer than necessary, and how countries can adapt to the impacts of climate change.

  11. Decoding Article 6 of the COP 24 Climate Negotiations

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    Dec 14 (IPS) - It is close to curtain call for the United Nations' Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, with ministers from around the world negotiating the text for a "rulebook" to implement the historic 2015 Paris Agreement for climate action. Amidst the various issues being debated, one of the most technical and complicated is Article 6 of the agreement, which focuses on the country plans for climate action.

  12. New Science Shows Climate-Smart Farming is Within Reach

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    KATOWICE, Poland, Dec 12 (IPS) - Godefroy Grosjean is Asia Climate Policy Hub Leader, International Center for Tropical AgricultureUntil the United Nations climate talks in Bonn last year, no clear plan to include agriculture in climate negotiations existed.

    This was troubling, considering agriculture contributes 19-29% of global greenhouse gases, and changing temperatures are making it harder to farm. This is having an increasingly prominent effect on food security -- hunger levels have now risen for the third year in a row.

  13. Time to Follow EU’s Lead & Step Up Climate Action with 2050 Plans

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    NEW YORK, Dec 12 (IPS) - Manish Bapna is Executive Vice President and Managing Director at the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Stephen Gold is the Global Lead, Climate Change, at UN Development Programme (UNDP)

    As climate negotiators, experts and activists are gathering in Katowice, Poland, for the international climate talks, much of the focus will be on immediate issues. Laying down the ground rules of the 2015 Paris Agreement and wrapping up the first global review of countries' progress to date are high on the agenda.

  14. African Countries Deserve an Enhanced Climate Ambition

    Tuesday, December 04, 2018

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 04 (IPS) - Robert Muthami is a Programme Coordinator at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Kenya Office. He coordinates work around socio-ecological transformation.

    African countries have been at the climate-change negotiating table for more than 20 years. The continent faces some of the most severe impacts of climate change, but questions remain over its adaptive capacity despite this engagement.

  15. Climate Action Should be a Global Priority for World Leaders

    Tuesday, December 04, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Dec 04 (IPS) - Patricia Espinosa was appointed Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2016, a year after the adoption of the Paris Agreement to intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. Prior to that, she was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.The IPCC report says that it is not impossible to limit climate change to 1.5͒C? Do you think we can realistically achieve that? Politically, what needs to happen?

    History shows that when the human race decides to pursue a challenging goal, we can achieve great things. From ridding the world of smallpox to prohibiting slavery and other ancient abuses through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have proven that by joining together we can create a better world.

  16. Limiting Climate Change to 1.5 C is not Impossible, Says IPCC Chair

    Monday, December 03, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Dec 03 (IPS) - Lee Hoesung was appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2015. He is also the Endowed Chair Professor of economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development in the Republic of Korea*.

    When governments set a target in December 2015 of limiting global warming to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to hold it at 1.5ºC, they invited the IPCC to prepare a report to provide information on this Goal.

  17. Combatting Climate Change with Bamboo

    Thursday, November 29, 2018

    ROME, Nov 29 (IPS) - Did you know bamboo can help combat climate change? Fast growing and flexible, bamboo plants and products can store more carbon than certain types of tree. Bamboo is also used around the world as a source of renewable energy, and to make thousands of durable products - providing a lifeline for communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

  18. Climate Change Drives Up Rural Poverty in Latin America

    Saturday, November 24, 2018

    BUENOS AIRES, Nov 24 (IPS) - Only 18 percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean live in rural areas, but these are increasingly hotbeds of poverty, and climate change is playing a major role in this phenomenon.

  19. Women’s Climate Leadership More Vital Than Ever In Light Of Climate Change Report

    Monday, October 29, 2018

    SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 29 (IPS) - Osprey Orielle Lake is the founder and executive director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International and co-chair of International Advocacy for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She is the author of the award-winning book Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature.   Emily Arasim has served as WECAN International's media and communications coordinator and project assistant since 2014. She is an avid photojournalist, writer and farmer from New Mexico.The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which arrived thunderously in October, concludes that we have only 12 years remaining to transform our energy systems and ways of living to limit the worst effects of climate change.

  20. UAE Raising Awareness About the Impact of Climate Change

    Friday, October 19, 2018

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates,, Oct 19 (IPS) - The Middle East, due to its geographical location, is particularly prone to the impacts of climate change.

    Longer droughts, more frequent and intense heatwaves, and higher temperatures in the summer are expected to to become increasingly prevalent throughout the Middle East - from Sana'a to Jeddah to Dubai to Tehran.

  21. Caribbean Nations Pay the Price for Climate Change Caused by Others

    Tuesday, October 16, 2018

    BUENOS AIRES, Oct 16 (IPS) - Although their contribution to global warming is negligible, Caribbean nations are bearing the brunt of its impact. Climate phenomena are so devastating that countries are beginning to prepare not so much to adapt to the new reality, but to get their economies back on their feet periodically.

  22. Rwanda Leverages Green Climate Fund’s Opportunities to Fast-Track Sustainable Development

    Friday, October 12, 2018

    KIGALI, Oct 12 (IPS) - In a move to achieve its green growth aspirations by 2050, Rwanda has placed a major focus on promoting project proposals that shift away from "business as usual" and have a significant impact on curbing climate change while attracting private investment.

  23. “Our Choices Matter More Than Ever Before” To Limit Climate Change

    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 10 (IPS) - The release of a groundbreaking report has left the international community reeling over very real, intensified impacts of climate change which will hit home sooner rather than later. So what now?

  24. Climate Change Response Must Be Accompanied By a Renewed Approach to Economic Development

    Friday, October 05, 2018

    KINGSTON, Oct 05 (IPS) - In the face of the many challenges posed by climate change, Panos Caribbean, a global network of institutes working to give a voice to poor and marginalised communities, says the Caribbean must raise its voice to demand and support the global temperature target of 1.5 °C.

  25. Fixing the Crisis of Confidence in the Green Climate Fund

    Monday, October 01, 2018

    WASHINGTON DC, Oct 01 (IPS) - Jacob Waslander is a Senior Associate at World Resources Institute and a former board member of the Green Climate Fund & Patricia Quijano Vallejos is a lawyer and Research Analyst in the Finance Center at World Resources Institute.The Green Climate Fund's mandate couldn't be more crucial: accelerating climate action in developing countries by supporting transformational investments in adaptation and emissions reduction.

  26. Climate Change Undermining Global Efforts to Eradicate Hunger

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 24 (IPS) - The United Nations warned last month that the accelerating impacts of climate change—"already clearly visible today"-- have triggered an unpredictable wave of natural disasters-- including extreme heatwaves, wild fires, storms, and floods during the course of this year.

  27. Countries On the Frontline of Climate Change Impact Call for Stronger Mitigation Commitments

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    SAN FRANCISCO and ST. JOHN’S, Sep 24 (IPS) - Caribbean leaders want larger countries to pick up the pace at which they are working to meet the climate change challenge and keep global warming from devastating whole countries, including the most vulnerable ones like those in the Caribbean.

  28. Ethiopia’s Struggle Against Climate Change Gets a Boost from Green Climate Fund

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    ADDIS ABABA, Sep 24 (IPS) - Faced with worsening droughts due to climate change, Ethiopia is joining an international initiative seeking to build global resilience against the problems caused by it, and enable developing countries to become part of a united solution to the ongoing problem. 

  29. “Running Out Of Time” - Local Communities Mobilise for the Climate

    Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 12 (IPS) - Local communities across the globe have risen up to demand commitments on climate change, as frustration mounts over the lack of action.

  30. Indigenous Peoples Least Responsible for the Climate Crisis

    Thursday, August 09, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Aug 09 (IPS) - This article is part of a series of stories and op-eds initiated by IPS on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, on August 9.

    Indigenous peoples, who comprise less than five percent of the world's population, have the world's smallest carbon footprint, and are the least responsible for our climate crisis. Yet because their livelihoods and wellbeing are intimately bound with intact ecosystems, indigenous peoples disproportionately face the brunt of climate changewhich is fast becoming a leading driver of human displacement.

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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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