COP19—Warsaw Climate Conference

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


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 PDF formatted document.

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 PDF formatted document.

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.

Changing Climate Threatens World's Smallholder Farmers

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 19 (IPS) - Farmers are already experiencing the effects of climate change but can also help to fight it, according to a new report released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Q&A: We Won't Go Far Until Climate Issues Are Mainstreamed in Policy

Friday, October 14, 2016

NAIROBI, Oct 14 (IPS) - Two years ago at the 31st African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, heads of state and government endorsed the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) programme on agriculture and climate change with the bold vision of at least 25 million smallholder households practicing Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) by 2025.

Climate Change Adaptation - Key to Reaching Zero Hunger in Latin America

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

SANTIAGO, Oct 12 (IPS) - Climate change is leading to major modifications in agricultural production in Latin America and the Caribbean, and if mitigation and adaptation measures of the productive system are not urgently adopted, threats to food security will be exacerbated.

$90tn Infrastructure Investment Could Combat Climate Change: Report

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 12 (IPS) - The world will need to more than double its current infrastructure stock over the next 15 years - a massive undertaking which could either contribute to or combat catastrophic climate change - according to a new report.

Starting Line Draws Nearer for Global Climate Agreement

Thursday, September 22, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 22 (IPS) - The Paris Climate Agreement is on the verge of coming into force after 31 nations officially deposited their instruments of ratification here Wednesday, more than doubling the number of countries which have joined so far to reach 60.

At the Nexus of Water and Climate Change

Saturday, September 03, 2016

STOCKHOLM, Sep 03 (IPS) - With the clock counting down towards the November climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco, where parties to the climate treaty agreed in Paris will negotiate implementation, it's clear that managing water resources will be a key aspect of any effective deal.

Obama Stresses Climate Change Urgency Ahead of IUCN Congress

Thursday, September 01, 2016

HONOLULU, Hawaii, Sep 01 (IPS) - U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed the urgency of tackling climate change in a speech to Pacific leaders in his home state of Hawaii.

Climate Victims – Every Second, One Person Is Displaced by Disaster

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ROME, Jul 27 (IPS) - Climate change and related extreme weather events have devastated the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of most vulnerable people worldwide-- by far exceeding the total of all the unfortunate and unjustifiable victims of all terrorist attacks combined. However, the unstoppable climate crisis receives just a tiny fraction of mainstream media attention. See these dramatic facts.

Rights of Indigenous Peoples ‘Critical’ to Combat Climate Change

Monday, July 25, 2016

ROME, Jul 25 (IPS) - No longer it is about restoring the legitimate rights of over 370 indigenous peoples spread across 70 countries worldwide, many of them living in dire situation, but now about their central, critical role in combating climate change.

​Indian Climate Activist Ponders the 'Unthinkable'

Monday, July 25, 2016

TAIPEI, Jul 25 (IPS) - For acclaimed Indian novelist and essayist Amitav Ghosh, the future of humankind as global warming impact events spread worldwide looks grim. So grim that the 60-year-old pamphleteer has titled his new book of three climate-related essays "The Great Derangement."

Antibiotic Resistance Requires Global Response Similar to AIDS, Climate Change

Sunday, June 12, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 12 (IPS) - Addressing antibiotic resistance will require a global political response similar to the way the world has reacted to climate change or HIV / AIDS, Sweden's Minister of Public Health Gabriel Wikstrom, told IPS recently.

Q&A: Crisis and Climate Change Driving Unprecedented Migration

Monday, June 06, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 06 (IPS) - Climate change is now adding new layers of complexity to the nexus between migration and the environment.

Let’s Not Forget Disaster Risk as we Rush to Adapt to Climate Change

Monday, May 09, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, May 09 (IPS) - Helping at-risk communities adapt to climate change impacts is an important part of the Paris Climate Change agreement, but adaptation will not be complete without considering disaster risk.

Farmers Can Weather Climate Change – With Financing

Friday, May 06, 2016

LIVINGSTONE, Zambia, May 06 (IPS) - Merian Kalala, a farmer in Solwezi, capital of the North-Western Province of Zambia, knows firsthand that climate change is posing massive problems for agricultural productivity.

G-77 Should Adopt South-South Climate Change Program of Action: Ambassador Djoghlaf

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 26 (IPS) - The 134 members of the Group of 77 and China (G-77) made their mark on the Paris Climate Change Agreement and should now adopt a program of action to implement it, Ambassador Ahmed Djoghlaf told IPS in a recent interview.

South-South Cooperation Needed to Tackle Climate Change

Saturday, April 23, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 23 (IPS) - As countries came together at the United Nations this week to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement, partnerships were forged between countries of the global South to support the implementation of the global treaty.

Developing Countries Take Lead at Climate Change Agreement Signing

Friday, April 22, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 22 (IPS) - An unprecedented 175 countries are expected to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement here Friday, with 15 developing countries taking the lead by also ratifying the treaty.

Climate: Africa’s Human Existence Is at Severe Risk

Thursday, April 21, 2016

CAIRO, Apr 21 (IPS) - "Africa's human existence and development is under threat from the adverse impacts of climate change – its population, ecosystems and unique biodiversity will all be the major victims of global climate change."

Climate Change (I)<br>Will the Middle East Become ‘Uninhabitable’?

Monday, April 18, 2016

CAIRO, Apr 18 (IPS) - This is not about any alarming header—it is the dramatic conclusion of several scientific studies about the on-going climate change impact on the Middle East region, particularly in the Gulf area. The examples are stark.

Genetic Resources to Fight Climate Change

Friday, April 15, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 (IPS) - With Kenya's meteorological records over the last 50 years indicating increased irregularity and variability in precipitation, the effects of changing climate are hitting hard. Rising temperatures as well other forms of extreme weather events in form of droughts and floods are a common feature.

Papua New Guinea First to Finalize National Climate Plan Under Paris Agreement

Friday, April 01, 2016

WASHINGTON DC, Apr 01 (IPS) - On March 29, Papua New Guinea became the first country to formally submit the final version of its national climate action plan (called a "Nationally Determined Contribution," or NDC) under the Paris Agreement. The small Pacific nation's plan to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 is no longer just an "intended" nationally determined contribution (INDC) – it is now the country's official climate plan.

Tackling Climate Change in the Caribbean: Natural Solutions to a Human Induced Problem

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 02 (IPS) - The world is still celebrating the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the main outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its ambitions are unprecedented: not only has the world committed to limit the increase of temperature to "well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels," it has also agreed to pursue efforts to "limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C."

Core Principals of Climate Finance to Realize the Paris Agreement

Friday, January 29, 2016

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 29 (IPS) - The Paris climate change conference brought together 197 countries and over 150 Heads of State – the largest convening of world leaders in history – to agree on measures and work together to limit the global average temperature rise.

WFP’s Chief Calls for Support for Those Most Vulnerable to Climate Change

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

PEMBA, Zambia, Jan 27 (IPS) - With El Nino affecting countries in southern Africa, threatening agricultural production due to a massive heat wave, the World Food Programme has urged the international community to support the upscaling of climate smart agricultural technology for resilience.

Jamaica’s Drought Tool Could Turn the Table on Climate Change

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 13 (IPS) - On a very dry November 2013, Jamaica's Meteorological Service made its first official drought forecast when the newly developed Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) was used to predict a high probability of below average rainfall in the coming three months.

Cash for the Climate Please, Caribbean Leaders Lament

Friday, January 08, 2016

GEORGETOWN, Jan 08 (IPS) - Funding to address the financial flows needed for adaptation and mitigation of climate change remains an issue of concern for the Caribbean.

Caribbean Journalists Prepare to Report on Climate Change

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

SANTO DOMINGO, Jan 06 (IPS) - Environmentally committed journalists in the Caribbean point to a major challenge for media workers: communicating and raising awareness about the crucial climate change agreement that emerged from the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris.

Climate Smart Coffee and Banana Set to Boost East African Farmers’ Income

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

KAMPALA, Dec 23 (IPS) - Ugandan farmers are increasingly inter-planting coffee, the country's primary export, and banana, a staple food, as a way of coping with the effects of climate change.

Paris Delivers Historic Climate Treaty, but Leaves Gender Untouched

Sunday, December 13, 2015

PARIS, Dec 13 (IPS) - After 2 weeks of intense negotiations, on Saturday evening, the 21st UN climate conference (COP21) in Paris finally delivered a historic agreement that, for the first time, promises to keep the global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. The treaty, consisting 31 pages and signed by by 196 countries, include the big five steps of climate action:

Paris Delivers the Promised Climate Deal to Resounding Cheer and Applause

Sunday, December 13, 2015

PARÍS, Dec 13 (IPS) - The impossible was made possible. Governments from 195 countries around the world emerged here with the first universal agreement to cut greenhouse gases emissions and reduce the negative impacts of climate change.

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Author and Page Information

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

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