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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. “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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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. 

  9. “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.

  10. 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.

  11. Why the Flooding in Grenada is a Clear Reminder of its Vulnerability to Climate Change

    Wednesday, August 08, 2018

    ST GEORGE’S, Aug 08 (IPS) - Grenada is still tallying the damage after heavy rainfall last week resulted in "wide and extensive" flooding that once again highlights the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to climate change.

  12. Ocean Conservation Is an Untapped Strategy for Fighting Climate Change

    Friday, July 06, 2018

    WASHINGTON DC, Jul 06 (IPS) - Eliza Northrop is an Associate in the International Climate Action Initiative at World Resources Institute. The ocean contributes $1.5 trillion annually to the global economy and assures the livelihood of 10-12 percent of the world's population. But there's another reason to protect marine ecosystems—they're crucial for curbing climate change.

  13. War, High Tariffs and Nationalisation - their Cost to Africa’s Climate

    Thursday, July 05, 2018

    KINSHASA, Jul 05 (IPS) - Africa's political instability, its armed conflicts and regulatory issues are placing at risk investment needed to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the continent.

  14. World Wakes up to Climate Migration

    Monday, June 11, 2018

    NEW DELHI, Jun 11 (IPS) - Harjeet Singh is Global Lead on Climate Change at ActionAid International and is based in New Delhi*   Millions of people worldwide are being displaced by natural disasters triggered partially by climate change, and the international community is finally taking steps to mitigate the sufferingThis year is set to be an important milestone in the arduous journey of climate migrants. The global community is now beginning to fathom the challenges of people displaced by events such as floods, storms and sea level rise that are partly fuelled by climate change.

  15. Public-Private Pacts Open Doors to Climate Finance in Rwanda and Ethiopia

    Saturday, May 26, 2018

    BUSAN, May 26 (IPS) - The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) presented the African model of a National Financing Vehicle in which the governments of Rwanda and Ethiopia have successfully promoted green growth and climate resilience, at an event May 25 on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Busan, South Korea.

  16. When Two Becomes One: Blending Public and Private Climate Finance

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, May 23 (IPS) - With the landmark Paris Agreement now almost two years old, funding for climate-related activities continues to be a challenge. However, efforts have been underway to bring two seemingly very different sectors together to address climate change.

  17. A Natural Climate Change Adaptation Laboratory in Brazil

    Tuesday, May 22, 2018

    PINTADAS, Brazil, May 22 (IPS) - The small pulp mill that uses native fruits that were previously discarded is a synthesis of the multiple objectives of the Adapta Sertão project, a programme created to build resilience to climate change in Brazil's most vulnerable region.

  18. Will Climate Change Cause More Migrants than Wars?

    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    May 17 (IPS) - Climate change is one of the main drivers of migration and will be increasingly so. It will even have a more significant role in the displacement of people than armed conflicts, which today cause major refugee crises.

  19. Africa Gains Momentum in Green Climate Solutions

    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 (IPS) - Promoting the widespread use of innovative technologies will be critical to combat the hostile effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and many African countries are already leading the way with science-based solutions.

  20. Climate Finance: The Paris Agreement’s "Lifeblood"

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018

    BONN, May 15 (IPS) - As negotiators concluded ten days of climate talks in Bonn last week, climate finance was underlined as a key element without which the Paris Agreement's operational guidelines would be meaningless.

  21. Argentina Aims for a Delicate Climate Balance in the G20

    Friday, April 20, 2018

    BUENOS AIRES, Apr 20 (IPS) - As president this year of the Group of 20 (G20) developed and emerging nations, Argentina has now formally begun the task of trying to rebuild a consensus around climate change. It will be an uphill climb, since the position taken by the United States in 2017 led to a noisy failure in the group with regard to the issue.

  22. Caribbean Eyes Untapped Potential of World’s Largest Climate Fund

    Thursday, April 12, 2018

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 12 (IPS) - The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) also known as the 5Cs, is looking for ways to boost the region's access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

  23. Pakistan Needs Global Climate Funds to Combat Shifting Weather Patterns

    Monday, March 26, 2018

    KARACHI, Pakistan, Mar 26 (IPS) - As shifting weather patterns and extreme climates become the norm, access to climate funds are deemed essential for developing countries, such as Pakistan, that are facing the brunt of climate change.

  24. New Platform Will Support Youth Projects on Water and Climate

    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    BRASILIA, Mar 24 (IPS) - Young people around the globe with good ideas on how to deal with water and climate challenges now have a platform to show their projects to the world and attract funding and other contributions to realise their dreams.

  25. Role of Energy Efficiency in Limiting Climate Change

    Friday, March 23, 2018

    READING, United Kingdom, Mar 23 (IPS) - Greenhouse gases are produced as a by-product of the use of fossil fuels to supply light and heat, produce food, manufacture products and transport people and goods.  These gases congregate in the upper atmosphere and result in global warming through absorption of sunlight reflected from the earth's surface.  At the 21st meeting of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, it was agreed to limit the average increase in global temperature to 2°C .

  26. Climate Change is Hurting Children the Most: Here is How to Protect Them

    Friday, February 02, 2018

    Feb 02 (IPS) - In the United States, the 21 young people who are plaintiffs in the case Juliana v. United States will soon make their case against the government for failing to take action against climate change. Similar lawsuits have been filed in countries including PortugalIndiaand Pakistan.

  27. Climate-Related Disasters Cost Nearly $400 Billion in 2017

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 31 (IPS) - I am pleased to be with you at this important and timely summit on climate risk and to discuss the opportunities that are there for us to seize through decisive climate action.

  28. Sustainable Energy Critical for Achieving Overall Goals of Paris Climate Agreement

    Monday, January 15, 2018

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Jan 15 (IPS) - The Paris Agreement ushered in a new global approach to climate change. At the core of this agreement are the Nationally Determined Contributions. We are now implementing these pledges.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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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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