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. Governments, Donors and Investors Must Put Their Money Where Their Mouths are on Gender and Climate Change

    Thursday, October 17, 2019

    NAIROBI, Oct 17 (IPS) - Climate change has a disproportionate impact on women and girls. This is clear when it comes to water, for instance. The Global Commission on Adaptation Report launched at the United Nations General Assembly last week states that the number of people who may lack sufficient water, at least one month per year, will soar from 3.6 billion today to more than 5 billion by 2050.

  2. Global Climate Change Investment Heavily Tilted Towards Mitigation and Low on Adaptation

    Tuesday, October 08, 2019

    INCHEON, South Korea, Oct 08 (IPS) - Good news: the graph depicting climate investments has been steadily increasing. Climbing from the 2012 figure of $360 billion in climate investments across the world to close to $600 billion currently.

  3. Africa’s Mineral Wealth May Just have to Stay in the Ground to Protect a Changing Climate

    Monday, October 07, 2019

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Oct 07 (IPS) - As a result of climate change, resource extraction industries in Africa will be impacted by asset stranding, researchers say.

  4. Barbados Prime Minister Warns of Backlash of Mass Migration Because of Climate Crisis

    Tuesday, October 01, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 01 (IPS) - The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley tells IPS her patience is running thin, as she challenges the world to tackle the climate crisis.

  5. Confronting New Climate Reality in Asia & the Pacific

    Tuesday, October 01, 2019

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct 01 (IPS) - Last week, world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York for the Climate Action Summit. Their goal was simple: to increase ambition and accelerate action in the face of a mounting climate emergency.

  6. Q&A: How Vietnam went from Zero to Hero in Developing Solar Projects and What Other Countries Can Do for Climate Change

    Friday, September 27, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 27 (IPS) - A week ago, downtown New York witnessed one of the most historic moments in the climate action moment — hundreds of thousands of people attended the Climate Strike, where teen activists delivered powerful speeches and blows to world leaders for not taking climate change seriously.

  7. Investments to Cushion African Countries against Climate Shocks Not Enough

    Friday, September 27, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 27 (IPS) - African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina unveiled millions of dollars of new pledges at the United Nations this week amid growing fears of climate change ravaging the continent and derailing anti-poverty targets.

  8. Fighting Climate Change: We Must Not Forget the Soils

    Wednesday, September 25, 2019

    ILLINOIS, United States, Sep 25 (IPS) - Around the world, citizens took to the streets to demand their governments address climate change. In the U.S., this widespread activism illustrates the findings of a newly released report by the Chicago Council on Global affairs which found for the first time that the majority of Americans consider climate change a threat and the most critical foreign policy issue facing the country.

  9. World’s Hard Fought Battle Against Climate Change

    Monday, September 23, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 23 (IPS) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describes the ongoing crisis as a "climate emergency"-- as the world continues its hard fought battle against devastating droughts, floods, hurricanes and rising sea levels that threaten the very existence of small island developing states located in low-lying areas.

  10. Confronting the New Climate Reality in Asia and the Pacific

    Monday, September 23, 2019

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Sep 23 (IPS) - In less than ten days world leaders will be gathering at the United Nations in New York for the Climate Action Summit. Their goal is simple; to increase ambition and accelerate action in the face of a mounting climate emergency.

    For many this means ambition and action that enables countries to decarbonize their economies by the middle of the century. But that is only half the equation. Equally ambitious plans are also needed to build the resilience of vulnerable sectors and communities being battered by climate related disasters of increasing frequency, intensity and unpredictability.

  11. A Brief Guide to the Impacts of Climate Change on Food Production

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    Sep 20 (IPS) - Food may be a universal language – but in these record-breaking hot days, so too is climate change. With July clocking in as the hottest month on Earth in recorded history and extreme weather ramping up globally, farmers are facing the brunt of climate change in croplands and pastures around the world.

  12. 'I Want my Kids to Know What a Rhino and Turtle Are' - #ClimateStrike Kids Say

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Sep 20 (IPS) - IPS Correspondent Crystal Oderson took to the streets in Cape Town, South Africa and chatted to children about the #ClimateStrike.From Nigeria, to Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo, to South Africa, thousands of African climate campaigners have taken to the streets joining millions globally for the global Climate Strike ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, which starts in New York next week.

  13. Rural Bangladesh Families Spend 2.0 Billion Dollars on Climate Change ― Dwarfing Government & International Finance

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    LONDON, Sep 20 (IPS) - In an alarming imbalance struggling families in rural Bangladesh spend almost US$2 billion a year on preventing climate-related disasters or repairing damage caused by climate change ― far more than either the Bangladesh government or international bodies.

  14. As Climate Crisis Worsens & Poverty Rises, UN Appears Off-Track on Development Agenda

    Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 18 (IPS) - The two key goals in the UN's development agenda are the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

    But most of the world's developing nations, currently fighting a losing battle against rising poverty and hunger –and suffering from the devastating impact of climate change-- are likely to miss the deadline for most of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the latest report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

  15. Let’s Get Climate Action into Traction with Gender Equality

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 11 (IPS) - Climate change is already altering the face of our planet. Research shows that we need to put all our efforts over the coming decade to limit warming to 1.5°C and mitigate the catastrophic risks posed by increased droughts, floods, and extreme weather events.

  16. Let’s Walk the Talk to Defeat Climate Change – African Leaders Told

    Wednesday, August 28, 2019

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Aug 28 (IPS) - African leaders have been asked to walk the talk, and lead from the front, in order to build resilience and adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change on the continent.

  17. Solving the Climate Crisis is Beyond Governments

    Tuesday, August 20, 2019

    PANAMA CITY, Aug 20 (IPS) - Throughout my ten years working in international development and climate policy, I've mostly heard colleagues talk about the private sector as if it was this intangible, multifaceted medusa with its own business lingo that is impossible for us policy experts to tackle: "the ‘private sector' needs a return on investment in order to act on climate" or "the ‘private sector' does not have the right incentives, but we need ‘private' capital to solve this crisis"

  18. 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. 

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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'.

  30. 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.

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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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