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. Forests, Food & Farming Next Frontier in Climate Emergency

    Friday, August 16, 2019

    TORONTO, Canada, Aug 16 (IPS) - The special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  on climate and land, launched last week, makes it clear that without drastic changes in land use, agriculture and human diets, we will fall significantly short of targets to hold global temperature rise below 1.5°C. 

  2. Women Pastoralists Feel Heat of Climate Change

    Wednesday, August 14, 2019

    NAIROBI, Aug 14 (IPS) - For many people, climate change is about shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, longer and more intense heatwaves, and other extreme and unpredictable weather patterns.  But for women pastoralists—livestock farmers in the semi-arid lands of Kenya—climate change has forced drastic changes to everyday life, including long and sometimes treacherous journeys to get water.

  3. Extreme Floods, the Key to Climate Change Adaptation in Africa’s Drylands

    Thursday, August 08, 2019

    TURKANA COUNTY, Kenya, Aug 08 (IPS) - Extreme rainfall and heavy flooding, often amplified by climate change, causes devastation among communities. But new research published on Aug. 7 in the scientific journal Nature reveals that these dangerous events are extremely significant in recharging groundwater aquifers in drylands across sub-Saharan Africa, making them important for climate change adaptation.

  4. Want to Inspire More People to Act on Climate Change? Broaden the Framing

    Tuesday, July 16, 2019

    ILLINOIS, United States, Jul 16 (IPS) - "It has never happened before," is a sentence that is becoming excessively common in the news  due to a changing climate where new extremes are becoming normal.

  5. Rwanda Prepares the Foundations for Climate-Resilient Cities

    Monday, July 15, 2019

    KIGALI, Jul 15 (IPS) - How do you plan a resilient city? A city that can withstand climate change impacts, and the natural disasters that it produces at increased frequencies. And how do you protect the city, its individuals and communities, its business and institutions from either the increased flooding or prolonged droughts that result? It's a complex question with an even more complex solution, but one that the central African nation of Rwanda is looking to answer.

  6. Climate Change Deniers Violate Human Rights

    Monday, July 08, 2019

    AMSTERDAM, Jul 08 (IPS) - Eco Matser is Hivos global Climate Change / Energy and Development Coordinator.

    Whoever still thinks climate change is purely an environmental issue, threatening only nature, needs to think again. Climate change is also essentially a human issue because of its devastating effect on human life – and rights. It exacerbates existing inequalities, undermines democracy and threatens development at large. Likewise, by far the greatest burden will fall on those already in poverty, while the rich will be able to buy their way out of rising heat and hunger.

  7. We Cannot Save the World from Climate Catastrophe if Largest Emitters of CO2 Don’t Step up Now

    Thursday, June 27, 2019

    SUVA, Fiji, Jun 27 (IPS) - Frank Bainimarama is Prime Minister of FijiSUVA, Fiji, 27 June 2019 (IPS) -- Are the most climate-vulnerable nations of the world right to demand that developed and major economies commit to carbon neutrality by 2050?

    Should the poorest nations of the world insist that the "haves" put their significant economic and political resources behind aggressive efforts to combat climate change?

  8. Looking to the Land in the Climate Change Race

    Wednesday, June 26, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 26 (IPS) - The international community still has a long way to go to chart a new, sustainable course for humanity. But the upcoming climate change meetings provide a renewed opportunity to tackle climate change head on.

  9. Uganda’s Rare Tree Climbing Lions and Endangered Primates Threatened By Climate Change

    Wednesday, June 12, 2019

    KASESE, Uganda, Jun 12 (IPS) - As climate change leads to increased temperatures in East Africa, a thicket of invasive thorny trees with the ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions have begun threatening Uganda's second-largest park, home to a rare breed of tree climbing lions and one of the highest concentrations of primates in the world.

  10. Ecuador in Frontline to Address Climate Change

    Wednesday, June 05, 2019

    QUITO, Ecuador, Jun 05 (IPS) - Matilde Mordt is UNDP Resident Representative in Ecuador

    As the UN commemorates World Environment Day, UNDP would like to take this opportunity to commend Ecuador's efforts to address climate change and its commitment to raising its climate ambition.

  11. Mobilisation Needed for Climate-Related Disasters

    Wednesday, June 05, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 05 (IPS) - Climate-related displacement and food insecurity is not a future possibility, but it is already happening and it's only projected to worsen without urgent action in coming years.

  12. Global Hunger Is Threatening Families Because of Climate Change

    Wednesday, May 15, 2019

    NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 (IPS) - Siddharth Chatterjee is the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Kenya.

    There is barely a corner of human life that will not be affected by climate change, and some of its impacts are already being felt. Consider this, 821 million people are now hungry and over 150 million children stunted, putting the hunger eradication goal, SDG 2, at risk.

    Today 15 May, is the United Nations International Day of Families and the theme for this year is, ‘Families and Climate Action'.

  13. Why Climate Action Plans are not Good Enough to Deliver a Low-Carbon Future in Cities

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    DUBAI, Apr 23 (IPS) - Karishma Asarpot* is an urban planner, blogger and researcher who holds a Master of Science degree in Urbanism from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

    Though climate policies aim to reduce GHG emissions, they miss out on emphasizing the importance of urban planning policies

    Cities that have ratified the Paris Agreement and pledged to reduce carbon emissions are adopting climate action plans aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

  14. Pakistan’s Battle Against Climate Change

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    ISLAMABAD, Apr 17 (IPS) - Pakistan, which has been listed as the 7th most vulnerable country affected by climate change, is now seriously tackling the vagaries of weather, both at the official as well as non-official level.

    Pursuant to an initiative launched by the Pakistan Parliament's Upper House, the Senate, which specially entrusted a sub-Committee of the Standing Committee on Climate Change to focus on "Green and Clean" Islamabad, media, civil society and students have taken up the cudgels on combating climate change.

  15. Anguilla's Fishers Share their First-Hand Knowledge About Climate Change and its Impact

    Thursday, March 28, 2019

    PORT-OF-SPAIN, Mar 28 (IPS) - Fishers in Anguilla saw posted on Youtube this week a video they helped produce that depicts the impacts of climate change on their industry. Titled "Anguilla's Fishing Dilemma", the four-and-a-half minute video highlights some of the main challenges Anguilla's 92 licensed fishers face in earning a living.

  16. Climate Change: a Threat to Agriculture Undermining UN’s Goal to Eradicate Hunger

    Tuesday, March 19, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Mar 19 (IPS) - The United Nations has vowed to eradicate extreme hunger and malnutrition on a self-imposed deadline of 2030.

    But it is facing a harsh realty where human-induced climate change – including flash floods, droughts, heatwaves, typhoons and landslides-- is increasingly threatening agriculture, which also provides livelihoods for over 40 per cent of the global population.

  17. Q&A: Caribbean Losing Momentum on Climate Change and Concerted Action is Needed

    Monday, March 18, 2019

    CASTRIES, Mar 18 (IPS) - In 2015, the Caribbean was "the region that could" on the climate change scene. Countries rallied under the ‘1.5 to Stay Alive' banner, in the face of an existential threat. The now former Sustainable Development Minister of Saint Lucia Dr. James Fletcher emerged as a climate change champion at the time. But now, three years on, the scientist is giving regional climate action a C- in an assessment.

  18. Climate Strike: Hundreds of Thousands United for the Planet’s Future

    Saturday, March 16, 2019

    ROME, Mar 16 (IPS) - Friday, Mar. 15, hundreds of thousands of young people across the world took to the streets to join the climate strike. "We are demonstrating today for our planet and for our future. This is the place where we and those who come after us will live," Jennifer, a 16-year-old girl from Rome, the Italian capital, was one of those who opted to join the protests rather than attend school, told IPS.

  19. Women Take the Lead Tackling Climate Change in Bangladesh

    Friday, March 15, 2019

    LONDON / DHAKA, Mar 15 (IPS) - Jonathan Farr is WaterAid's Senior Policy Analyst on water security & climate change, based in London & Samia Mallik is WaterAid Bangladesh's Communications Officer, based in Dhaka.

    The stakes are high for women when faced with a warming world – their livelihoods jeopardised by labour markets that tend to put men first, their family responsibilities increasing rapidly in the face of droughts and flooding, and politicians who refuse to acknowledge the challenges they face. The story of those living on the frontline of a harsher climate is simply not being heard.

  20. Helping St. Vincent’s Fishers Maintain an Essential Industry in a Changing Climate

    Thursday, March 14, 2019

    KINGSTOWN, Mar 14 (IPS) - From an influx of sargassum in near-shore waters, to fish venturing further out to sea to find cooler, more oxygenated water, fishers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are battling the vagaries of climate change. The country is doing what it can to respond.

  21. Industrial Jobs in Danger When the Climate is to be Saved

    Tuesday, March 05, 2019

    STOCKHOLM, Mar 05 (IPS) - The trade unions' solution for a greener world is new jobs with good working conditions. The critics argue that there's not enough time. "We can either protect industrial jobs in the global north or save the climate", says political scientist Tadzio Müller.

  22. Living with Leprosy on the Climate-Vulnerable Kiribati Island Atolls

    Monday, March 04, 2019

    MANILA, Mar 04 (IPS) - Kurarenga Kaitire lives in Kiribati—one of the world's most climate-vulnerable nations. Already vulnerable to nature, the 29-year-old mother of five has faced a series of vulnerabilities over the past decade, including facing social stigma and domestic abuse.

  23. Accelerating the Caribbean's Climate Resilience

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    PORT-OF-SPAIN, Feb 26 (IPS) - The Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator launched last year June with the backing of Virgin's Richard Branson has given itself five years to help the region become climate resilient.

  24. Does Climate Change Offer New Opportunities for Agriculture in Argentina?

    Monday, February 25, 2019

    BUENOS AIRES, Feb 25 (IPS) - Climate change poses a global threat to food production, but for agriculture in Argentina it could also present new opportunities. In some areas of the country, farming conditions will improve, according to an analysis by experts of the latest climate projections.

  25. Q&A: Jamaica Pushes Climate Smart Policies to Secure the Future of its Food Supply

    Monday, February 18, 2019

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Feb 18 (IPS) - The island state of Jamaica is vulnerable to climate change which has in turn threatened both its economy and food production. But the Caribbean nation is taking the threat seriously and it has constructed a robust policy framework to support national climate action, particularly when it comes to promoting climate-smart agriculture (CSA).

  26. Q&A: We Are Helping the World Mitigate Climate Change, Now it’s Time to Help Us

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    The Caribbean nation of Suriname may be one of the most forested countries in the world, with some 93 percent of the country's surface area being covered in forests, but it is also the most threatened as it struggles with the impacts of climate change.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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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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