COP19—Warsaw Climate Conference

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  • by Anup Shah
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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. Climate change: WMO unveils plans for sustainable monitoring of greenhouse gases

    - UN News

    A UN-led plan to tackle climate change by radically improving the way heat-trapping atmospheric pollutants are measured all over the planet, is being given serious consideration by governments and the international scientific community, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday.

  2. Climate crisis and migration: Greta Thunberg supports IOM over ‘life and death’ issue

    - UN News

    The head of the UN migration agency IOM, and leading climate justice activist, Greta Thunberg, called on Friday for immediate action to help tackle the impacts of climate change on those forced to flee their homes, or leaving in search of a better life.

  3. The Climate Conversations

    - Inter Press Service

    DHAKA, Bangladesh, Jan 18 (IPS) - Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. However, negotiating a solution has been challenging due to several factors. One of the main reasons that recent COP Climate summits and other international climate talks have not been able to resolve climate change is that there is a lack of consensus among countries on how to address the issue.

    Developed countries, which have historically been the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, are often unwilling to take on significant emissions reductions or to provide financial assistance to developing countries to help them adapt to the effects of climate change.

  4. Conflicts, Climate Change Threaten Sprouting of Africas Great Green Wall

    - Inter Press Service

    BULAWAYO, Jan 06 (IPS) - Escalating conflict and climate change threaten the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI), an ambitious land restoration project across Africa.

  5. 2022 Year in Review: Amid global turmoil, UN doggedly pursues international climate agreements

    - UN News

    Despite strong evidence that human activity played a role in catastrophic weather events, and the emergence of a fuel crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine, greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise. Nevertheless, the UN kept the climate emergency high on the international agenda, reaching major agreements on financing and biodiversity.

  6. Climate action, one recipe at a time

    - UN News

    Renowned chefs such as UN World Food Programme (WFP) Goodwill Ambassador Chef Manal Al Alem, and Chef José Andres, as well as indigenous home cooks and farmers from around the world, have contributed to a new cookbook that includes recipes that are delicious and climate friendly. 

  7. Four Ways to Overcome Corruption in the Race Against Climate Crisis

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Dec 16 (IPS) - Climate change is the defining issue of our time. In the words of the UN Secretary General at COP27, “we are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.” Cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 is crucial when it comes to meeting the 1.5 degrees Celsius target.

  8. Global cholera surge likely accelerated by climate change, warns WHO

    - UN News

    Climate change has driven an “unprecedented” number of larger and more deadly cholera outbreaks around the world this year, the UN health agency, WHOsaid on Friday.

  9. UN rights chief reports on intensified ‘climate of oppression’ in Nicaragua

    - UN News

    The “climate of oppression” in Nicaragua has only intensified in recent months, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said on Thursday. 

  10. COP27: The Pacific Region is Under threat: We Must Act Now to Mobilise Climate Finance

    - Inter Press Service

    Sharm El-Sheikh, Nov 18 (IPS) - The Pacific Island Countries (PICs) – 14 small island developing nations in the Pacific Ocean - comprise one of the most exposed and vulnerable regions to climate change and natural calamities. The region did not cause this climate crisis; the crisis stemmed from heavy carbon emissions by developed countries. Yet paradoxically, the countries in the region are also the least resourced to adapt to climate change.

  11. COP27: Africas Agri-food Systems Losses Ignored in Global Climate Negotiations

    - Inter Press Service

    SHARM EL SHEIKH, Nov 17 (IPS) - At a time when sustainable farming approaches such as agroecology have been removed from the text at ongoing global climate negotiation (COP27) taking place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, activists are urging African governments to explore new steps to integrate agriculture into the UN climate agreement.

  12. Don't Be Fooled: Climate Disasters Are Highly Lucrative

    - Inter Press Service

    MADRID, Nov 17 (IPS) - As much as wars --or even more--, climate disaster represents a great business opportunity, so don't bother those who pour their fortunes into fueling them with talks about stopping it.

  13. COP27: Climate Change Exacerbates Vicious Loop of Human Rights Inequity

    - Inter Press Service

    SHARM EL SHEIKH, Nov 16 (IPS) - Climate change is worsening injustice globally, and the poor and vulnerable communities are the most affected. It is time the world acted on fulfilling human rights and building a liveable planet, says Yamide Dagnet, director for Climate Justice at Open Society Foundations.

  14. Launch of EBRD Climate Adaptation Action Plan at COP27

    - Inter Press Service

    LONDON, Nov 16 (IPS) - As it moves to increase its climate adaptation financethe European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched the EBRD Climate Adaptation Action Plan (CAAP) at COP27, the global climate summit taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

  15. Climate Change is No 'Future Scenario' for Pacific Island Nations; Climate Change is 'Real'

    - Inter Press Service

    SHARM EL SHEIK, Nov 15 (IPS) - Pacific island countries are highly vulnerable to climate change, and several have disappeared – and more could sink under the sea owing to a rise in water levels.

  16. UNICEF launches new child-focused climate initiative to head off disasters

    - UN News

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday launched a new climate financing initiative designed to help countries address current and growing impacts of the climate crisis, and better cope with disasters.

  17. COP27: Climate Justice: Where do the Religiously Marginalised Fit in?

    - Inter Press Service

    BRIGHTON, UK, Nov 14 (IPS) - Climate change reductionism – assuming the causes and the redress for those suffering the worst impacts of extreme weather lies with climate change alone - undermines the rights of religiously marginalised persons, but broadening whose rights are being advocated for in climate change can offer redress.

  18. Adapt or starve: COP27 spotlights agriculture challenges and solutions in the face of climate change

    - UN News

    Small-scale farmers from developing countries produce one-third of the world’s food, yet they only receive 1.7 per cent of climate finance even as they are forced to cope with droughts, floods, cyclones and other disasters.

  19. Sustainable food cold chains reduce waste, fight climate change: UN report

    - UN News

    Greater investment in sustainable food cold chains is needed to reduce hunger, provide livelihoods to communities, and adapt to climate change, two UN agencies said in a report published on Saturday.

  20. ‘Fossil fuels are a dead end’, says top UN climate adviser on ‘Decarbonization Day’ at COP27

    - UN News

    Negotiations, sharing solutions aimed at curbing emissions by the world’s biggest-polluting industries, as well as continued calls for climate justice and finance for hard-hit developing countries were in the spotlight on Friday as the latest UN Climate Conference reached its midway point in Egypt.

  21. Climate Finance for Locally-Led Climate Solutions Needs a New Focus

    - Inter Press Service

    CAPETOWN, South Africa, Nov 09 (IPS) - Imagine a world where the people hit hardest by climate crisis have a say in how to stop it. Imagine that youth, Indigenous Peoples, women, and others most affected by global warming have the resources to implement their own climate solutions. Solutions that are highly effective because they meet local needs, suit the local context, and create sustainable economic opportunities for local people. This world would be one where people have a much better chance of surviving, and even thriving, despite the massive upheavals of the climate crisis.

  22. COP27: Bolsonaros Defeat is a Triumph for Climate Change Advocates

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Nov 09 (IPS) - The electoral defeat of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is a triumph for everyone who is concerned about the peril of climate change. Bolsonaro’s well-deserved defeat could help save the Amazon rainforest, which has been ravaged under his criminal rule, and the process of reversing the looming climate change catastrophe can begin

  23. Young people reconsidering parenthood due to climate change, UNICEF poll reveals

    - UN News

    Climate change is forcing nearly half of young Africans to rethink their plans to have children someday, a global poll conducted by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed, underlining their uncertainty about the future of a planet in crisis.  

  24. COP27: Egypts Repressive Regime Under FireWhile it Hosts a Key Climate Summit

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Nov 08 (IPS) - The COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh has triggered a negative fallout for Egypt’s authoritarian regime which stands accused of human rights abuses -- and has been widely condemned for its longstanding repressive campaign against dissidents and civil society organizations (CSOs).

  25. Developing countries at COP27 call for ‘climate justice’ in the form of adaptation and loss and damage funds

    - UN News

    The second day of COP27’s Climate Implementation Summit saw world leaders raise their voices for concrete action, particularly on adaptation and the thorny issue of loss and damage.

  26. Africa: Will COP27 Deliver or be a Climate Forum of Empty Promises?

    - Inter Press Service

    Bulawayo, Nov 07 (IPS) - Africa is counting on COP27 to deliver it from climate change. But will it?

  27. ‘Cooperate or perish’: At COP27 UN chief calls for Climate Solidarity Pact, urges tax on oil companies to finance loss and damage

    - UN News

    At the opening of the two-day Climate Implementation Summit at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, António Guterres called for a historic pact between developed and developing countries to combine capacities, and pivot the world towards reducing carbon emissions, transforming energy systems and avoiding a climate catastrophe.

  28. COP27 begins a ‘new era to do things differently’, UN climate change chief declares as pivotal conference gets underway

    - UN News

    The UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, should shift the world towards implementation of previously agreed plans to tackle humanity’s greatest challenge, Simon Stiell, the new Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Convention (UNFCCC), said on Sunday at the opening of COP27.

  29. Pacific Islands: Climate Finance Action a Priority at COP27

    - Inter Press Service

    Sydney, Nov 05 (IPS) - Today, the window of opportunity for scaled-up global climate action to prevent disastrous global warming and build resilience in the most vulnerable nations is closing fast. And a major impediment to reducing emissions and accelerating climate adaptation is both lack of financial investment and major bureaucratic hurdles to accessing those funds that are available.

  30. Revealed: Rich Countries ‘Miserably’ Fall Below Their Climate Promises, Further Indebt the Poor

    - Inter Press Service

    MADRID, Nov 04 (IPS) - Just a few days ahead of the UN Climate Conference (COP27) in Egypt (6-18 November), new revelations show how far rich, industrialised countries –those who contribute most to the growing catastrophes- have been lying over their real contributions to climate finance.

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  • by Anup Shah
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