COP19—Warsaw Climate Conference

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  • by Anup Shah
  • This page Created

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. 2021 Year in Review: Climate action, or blah, blah, blah?

    - UN News

    This year saw another steady stream of UN-backed reports reinforcing a stark message: man-made climate change is an urgent and even existential threat to life on Earth. Will the international community’s efforts to tackle the crisis, as seen at the COP26 UN Climate Conference, result in meaningful action? 

  2. Uruguay Launches Sovereign Bond Linked to Climate Targets

    - Inter Press Service

    BUENOS AIRES, Dec 23 (IPS) - Sustainable finance continues to expand in Latin America, as governments and companies take advantage of growing interest among investors in instruments that protect biodiversity and respond to the climate crisis. In 2020, more than US$16 billion of green, social and sustainable bonds were issued in the region.

  3. Blue Ocean Solutions for Climate Resilience and Accelerated Development

    - Inter Press Service

    Nairobi, Kenya, Dec 22 (IPS) - Seychelles’ 115 islands are an exotic ocean ecosystem of beaches, coral reefs, and unique plant and animal species. Concerned with the impacts of climate change, the country has committed to decarbonize by 2050.

  4. Nature-based Solutions for enhancing coordinated action around climate change, land and biodiversity

    - Inter Press Service

    London, Dec 17 (IPS) - A key outcome of COP26 climate summit is the enhanced focus on “nature-based solutions” – the plans for people to work closely alongside nature to avert a planetary catastrophe.

  5. UN rights forum’s action on climate and COVID-19 vaccines shows its relevance, says President

    - UN News

    After one of the busiest years in the history of the Human Rights Council, President Nashat Shameem Khan insisted on Thursday that the UN forum remains more relevant than ever, citing action on COVID-19 vaccine inequity, climate change and no less than five Special Sessions in Geneva. 

  6. Youth at Forefront of Climate Change Action Will Make Biggest Impact

    - Inter Press Service

    Nairobi, Kenya, Dec 15 (IPS) - On Gladys Habu’s birthday, she filmed a message to world leaders while standing waist-deep in the sea next to a dead tree stump – the only remnant of Kale Island now submerged underwater due to climate-change-induced sea-level rise.

  7. Climate change ‘aggravating factor for terrorism’: UN chief

    - UN News

    Environmental degradation enables armed groups to extend their influence and manipulate resources to their advantage, the UN chief told the Security Council on Thursday, highlighting that conflict-prevention initiatives need to factor in climate risks.

  8. Climate Change: Adapt for the Future, Not the Past

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 07 (IPS) - Funding for developing countries to address global warming is grossly inadequate. Very little finance is for adaptation to climate change, the urgent need of countries most adversely affected. Also, adaptation needs to be forward-looking rather than only addressing accumulated problems.

  9. From the Field: ‘climate-smart’ development in an uncertain world

    - UN News

    Today, when the UN plans initiatives to help vulnerable communities become more resilient, the climate crisis has to be part of the equation. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is connecting the dots between people and the impacts that climate change is having on their lives.

  10. COP26: Convert climate ‘promises to action’, urge UN rights experts

    - UN News

    Marking the 35th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development, independent UN human rights experts on Friday issued an urgent call to “move from promises to action” on the outcomes of the UN’s landmark COP26 climate conference.

  11. What Will it Take to Turn Farmers Toward Climate-Resilient Superfood Millet?

    - Inter Press Service

    Bulawayo, ZIMBABWE , Dec 1 2021 (IPS) - Millet could be Africa’s silver bullet for combating anaemia – and apart from health benefits, it is climate-resilient.

  12. Climate Change with 8 Billion Humans

    - Inter Press Service

    PORTLAND, USA, Nov 23 (IPS) - With world population approaching 8 billion humans, the demographic growth of nations is unfortunately largely ignored by governments whenever climate change is considered.

  13. Interview: The most impactful actions at COP26 point to progress on climate change

    - UN News

    Of the many agreements and initiatives announced at the 26th UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the UN Climate Communications Lead at the Department of Global Communications narrowed down the three that she deemed most impactful. 

  14. What Governments Should Learn from The Climate Activists

    - Inter Press Service

    Nov 15 (IPS) - Shantha Rau Barriga is the disability rights director and the lead on Strategy Development at Human Rights Watch“Nothing about us without us” – that was the call from the indigenous rights advocate Ghazali Ohorella from the Alifuru people in the Maluku Islands, Indonesia during a panel at the climate summit in Glasgow.

  15. Glasgow Summit Ends Amidst Climate of Disappointment

    - Inter Press Service

    GLASGOW, Nov 14 (IPS) - Developing countries will surely remember the Glasgow climate summit, the most important since 2015, as a fiasco that left them as an afterthought.

  16. COP26 closes with ‘compromise’ deal on climate, but it’s not enough, says UN chief

    - UN News

    After extending the COP26 climate negotiations an extra day, nearly 200 countries in Glasgow, Scotland, adopted on Saturday an outcome document that, according to the UN Secretary-General, reflects the interests, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today.

  17. Climate action can deliver a sustainable future for all: UN deputy chief

    - UN News

    Climate action can be the driver for a green and equitable future for all, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has said at the TED Countdown Summit, urging people everywhere to demand that leaders deliver on their promise to limit global warming. 

  18. As COP26 deadline slips, negotiators to keep working to agree crucial climate deal

    - UN News

    COP26, the UN climate summit in Glasgow, is running into overtime, as leaders and negotiators will keep working to reach a deal that could spare the world from catastrophic global warming.

  19. Violence, insecurity and climate change drive 84 million people from their homes

    - UN News

    As more people flee violence, insecurity and the effects of climate change, the number forcibly displaced now exceeds 84 million globally, according to new data released on Thursday by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.  

  20. COP26: Climate Action in Agribusiness Could Reduce Emissions by up to 7 per Cent

    - Inter Press Service

    LONDON, Nov 11 (IPS) - Targeted action in agriculture could have a massive impact on climate change, according to a joint brief by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), published at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow scheduled to end November 12.

  21. UN chief welcomes China-US pledge to cooperate on climate action

    - UN News

    Wednesday’s announcement that China and the United States have agreed to collaborate more closely on climate action was hailed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as an important step in the right direction.

  22. Climate change increasing threats in southwest Pacific: WMO report

    - UN News

    From rising sea temperatures, to deadly and devastating storms and floods, climate change is increasing threats in the southwest Pacific, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a report published on Wednesday. 

  23. COP26: Avoiding Carbon Tunnel Vision: Action on Climate Change Needs an Inter-connected Response

    - Inter Press Service

    AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands, Nov 10 (IPS) - With the UN climate change conference – COP26 – continuing this week in Glasgow, it’s obvious that there is consensus among a majority of world leaders and key stakeholders that much more needs to be done, if the ambition of keeping global warming to a 1.5-degree increase is to have any chance of being met. Yet talk, as they say, is cheap. Or, in the words of Greta: too much “blah, blah, blah” and not enough action.

  24. COP26 - Adapting to the Climate Crisis

    - Inter Press Service

    OTTAWA, Canada, Nov 09 (IPS) - Look up any map showing today’s global humanitarian crises and you’ll find it awash in red alerts more than ever before. Climate emergencies are fast emerging in new areas that have never previously witnessed them, and they are accelerating humanity’s march towards the precipice in regions long battered by conflict, hunger and displacement.

  25. Magical Thinking on Fertilizer and Climate Change

    - Inter Press Service

    CAMBRIDGE, Nov 09 (IPS) - As world leaders wrap up the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, new scientific research shows that there is still a great deal of magical thinking about the contribution of fertilizer to global warming.

  26. COP26: Climate Justice Begins with the Human Right to Water

    - Inter Press Service

    GLASGOW, Scotland, Nov 09 (IPS) - As the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is swiftly moving to its conclusion on Friday, climate justice could not be more urgent or timely.

  27. Women bear the brunt of the climate crisis, COP26 highlights

    - UN News

    Women took the global stage on Tuesday to show that climate change isn’t gender neutral, and that climate action needs them: investing in women and girls creates ripple effects felt throughout entire communities and the frontline knowledge they possess is needed now more than ever, especially as new analysis has revealed that the announcements by world leaders at COP26 still leave our planet on the path to catastrophic global warming. 

  28. A matter of life or death: At COP26, vulnerable countries tell developed nations it’s time to keep their promise on climate finance

    - UN News

    Massive floods, devastating wildfires, and rising seas – along with the countless lives they take and livelihoods they upend – are realities many nations are already facing. Voices from the front lines of climate change and its impacts were centre stage to start week two of COP26, which kicked off Monday in Glasgow with a focus on ‘adaptation, loss and damage’.

  29. Many countries ‘unsupported and unprepared’ to address climate health risks: WHO

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Although governments are prioritizing public health measures to protect their people from climate impacts, many lack the funds to take effective action, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report issued on Monday. 

  30. COP26: Thousands of young people take over Glasgow streets demanding climate action

    - UN News

    “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” echoed throughout central Glasgow on Friday as thousands of protesters took the streets during the dedicated “Youth Day” at COP26.

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  • by Anup Shah
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