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. To Reverse Food Insecurity Build a Climate Resilient Agricultural Sector

    - Inter Press Service

    URBANA, Illinois, Jun 16 (IPS) - The number of people facing acute food insecurity has hit a five-year high, according to a recently released annual report by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC) - an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises. In addition, the report noted that 28 million people were one step away from starvation. This was attributed to conflict, economic shocks due to COVID-19 and climate change associated weather events.

  2. Central Sahel: Ground Zero in Tackling Climate Change Through Education

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Jun 16 (IPS) - The climate crisis is amplifying the effects of instability and violence in the world’s poorest countries. Nowhere is this more visible than in Africa’s Central Sahel region, where increasing temperature, floods, droughts and other climate change-induced disasters are triggering conflicts, displacement, and pushing girls and boys into the shadows.

  3. Why Mixed Messages Could Turn Boris Johnsons Glasgow Climate Summit Dream into a Nightmare

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Jun 11 (IPS) - How are preparations for the Glasgow Climate Summit in November proceeding? Currently, we are more than halfway through three weeks of virtual preparatory negotiations taking place in June. These online talks are challenging in their own right, just as many had feared  (see: ‘Should the 2021 Climate Summit in Glasgow Still Take Place?’). 

  4. UN Scientists: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss. Two Parts. One Problem.

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 11 (IPS) - Earth is in the throes of multiple environmental crises, with climate change and the loss of biodiversity the most pressing.

    The urgency to confront the two challenges has been marked by policies that tackle the issues separately.

    Now, a report by a team of scientists has warned that success on either front is hinged on a combined approach to the dual crises.

  5. UN-backed report finds no G7-based stock exchange indices align with Paris climate goals

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    New research co-authored by the UN Global Compact revealed on Thursday that none of the G7 leading industrial nations’ main stock indices are aligned with global emissions targets set out in the Paris Agreement, thwarting efforts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

  6. From Climate Change to Covid, Are We Ready to Deal with Disasters?

    - Inter Press Service

    PARIS, Jun 10 (IPS) - In the last 20 years, disasters affected over 4 billion people. At global level we witness on average one sweeping disaster a day, the majority of which are floods and storms. From the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, calamities are taking new shapes and sizes, infiltrating every dimension of society. From the emotional to the political, how do we deal with disasters? How can we create a whole-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction?

  7. UNs Battle Against Climate Hazards Undermined by a Devastating Pandemic

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 04 (IPS) - The United Nations has been in the forefront of an ongoing battle against the growing hazards of climate change, including the destruction of different species of plants and animals, the danger of rising sea-levels threatening the very existence of small island developing states (SIDS), and the risks of oceans reaching record temperatures endangering aquatic resources.

  8. Invasive pest spread another fallout from climate change, UN-backed study finds

    - UN News

    Climate change is making pests which ravage important agricultural crops even more destructive, heightening threats to global food security and the environment, a UN-backed study published on Wednesday has found. 

  9. Bridging the Gaps Between Climate Action & Biodiversity Preservation

    - Inter Press Service

    KATHMANDU, Nepal, Jun 02 (IPS) - With the climate negotiations getting more and more intense in the light of ensuring meaningful achievements in the upcoming COP- 26 summit in Edinburgh, an event that is key to move forward the pathway towards a net zero future started in Paris, this year World Environment Day on June 5 assumes an even more emblematic meaning.

  10. UN chief calls for a global partnership to address COVID, climate change and achieve SDG’s

    - UN News

    Speaking in a key international partnerships summit, António Guterres said that if governments embrace together the goals of phasing out coal, enhancing climate commitments, and investing in the Global Goals, there is an opportunity to rise to 'the biggest challenge of our lives'.

  11. Why Stakeholder Coalitions Could Be Key to the Glasgow Climate Summits Success

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, May 27 (IPS) - The past few weeks brought a burst of optimism on the climate front. It began on April 18 with the US-China announcement on climate cooperation. This was followed in quick succession by the EU Parliament’s vote to cut emissions 55% by 2030, the UK’s promise of a 78% cut by 2035, Japan nearly doubling their commitment from 26% to 46% based on 2013 levels and US President Biden’s pledge of a 50-52% reduction, also by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels).

  12. Boost investments in nature to combat climate, biodiversity and land degradation crises

    - UN News

    Annual investments in nature-based solutions will have to triple by 2030, and increase four-fold by 2050, if the world is to successfully tackle the triple threat of climate, biodiversity and land degradation crises, according to a new UN-backed study published on Thursday. 

  13. A Growing Shift in the Narrative about Climate Action

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 25 2021 (IPS) - A keen awareness about the intersection of our ecosystem and the “accelerating destabilisation of the climate” is helping shift the narrative for climate action and can help us transition from being polluters to becoming protectors of the climate, said Marco Lambertini, Director General at the World Wide Fund for Nature.

  14. The Global Insecurity of Climate Change

    - Inter Press Service

    BONN, Germany, May 21 (IPS) - For Sudanese youth, climate change is synonymous with insecurity.

  15. Successful Crop Innovation Is Mitigating Climate Crisis Impact in Africa

    - Inter Press Service

    IBADAN and MEXICO CITY, Feb 17 2021 (IPS) - 17 February - African smallholder farmers have no choice but to adapt to climate change: 2020 was the second hottest year on record, while prolonged droughts and explosive floods are directly threatening the livelihoods of millions. By the 2030s, lack of rainfall and rising temperatures could render 40 percent of Africa’s maize-growing area unsuitable for climate-vulnerable varieties grown by farmers, while maize remains the preferred and affordable staple food for millions of Africans who survive on less than a few dollars of income a day.

  16. Climate Crisis: Elephants in the Room are Getting Nastier

    - Inter Press Service

    HAMILTON, Canada, May 18 (IPS) - The year 2020 will forever be notorious for the COVID-19 pandemic but it might also be known by historians for a precipitous rise in second order climate change consequences -- a new elephant in the room.

  17. Q&A: On the Frontline, Islands Aim to Seize Climate Initiatives

    - Inter Press Service

    KINGSTON / PARIS, May 17 (IPS) - The “all-virtual” Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW) that took place May 11-14 highlighted islands’ particular vulnerabilities in the face of both climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. But the event - hosted by the Dominican Republic - also provided “important momentum for a successful UN Climate Change Conference” (COP 26) in November in Glasgow, according to the United Nations.

  18. Africas Worsening Climate: Heres How the United States can Help Africa

    - Inter Press Service

    URBANA, Illinois, May 17 (IPS) - Recently, I participated in a Congressional hearing on the “Effects of climate change in Africa”, before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and Internal Organizationschaired by Congresswoman, Karen Bass.

  19. Latin America & the Caribbean Assess Climate Ambition and Action Ahead of COP26

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, May 13 (IPS) - The Dominican Republic opened the 2021 virtual Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week with a pledge to increase the country’s climate ambition by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent and maintaining progress towards climate neutrality according to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

  20. To Effectively Combat Climate Change, Listen and Act on Ideas from the Youth

    - Inter Press Service

    URBANA, Illinois, Apr 26 (IPS) - Recently, I participated in Kids Climate Summit 2021a virtual event that gave younger students an opportunity to take a stance on climate change, express their concerns, and learn about global climate and the actions we all can take to mitigate climate change. 

  21. The planet’s on ‘red alert’ UN chief warns leaders at President Biden’s climate summit

    - UN News

    World leaders must act now and put the planet on a green path because “we are at the verge of the abyss”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday in his address to the virtual climate summit convened by United States President Joseph Biden. 

  22. First Person: ‘Youth won’t stay silent’ says Madagascar climate activist

    - UN News

    Young people around the world “won’t stay silent” about the global climate crisis according to a youth activist from Madagascar. 

  23. Green transformation will rival industrial revolution: US climate envoy

    - UN News

    The transition to a global economic model which will slow down climate change and create jobs will be the “biggest economic transformation since the industrial revolution” according to John Kerry, the US climate envoy.

  24. Guterres urges cities to embrace ‘generational opportunity’ for climate action, sustainable development

    - UN News

    The United Nations Secretary-General, on Friday, called for a “revolution” in urban planning and urban transport to beat back impacts of climate change and build a green and sustainable future for all. 

  25. Barilla Foundation Brings Health and Climate Together in New Double Pyramid

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Apr 12 (IPS) - Following an extensive scientific review, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) is preparing to launch a new food systems model which incorporates nutrition and climate.

  26. Paris goals still ‘long way off’, says President of UN climate conference

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The world is “a long way off” from meeting the goals of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the President of the crucial upcoming UN climate conference, COP26, said on Thursday.

  27. Renewable energy access key to climate adaptation in Africa: UN chief

    - UN News

    Support for climate adaptation in Africa is crucial, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday in appealing for greater action to provide renewable energy to hundreds of millions who still lack access to reliable and affordable electricity.

  28. Climate change top challenge over the next decade, UNESCO global survey finds

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Climate change and loss of biodiversity is seen as the most pressing challenge over the decade, according to the World in 2030 Survey report published on Wednesday by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

  29. More climate action needed during ‘make-or-break year’ for people and planet

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The world needs “a major breakthrough” to slow the pace of climate change and build resilience to protect the most vulnerable from increasingly severe and frequent climate impacts, the deputy UN chief told a crucial high-level meeting on Wednesday, looking ahead to November’s COP26. 

  30. Guterres calls on US to lead global vaccination plan effort, climate action, welcoming Blinken to Headquarters

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The Secretary-General welcomed a recommitted and re-engaged United States administration to United Nations Headquarters on Monday, albeit virtually, calling on it to play a leadership role in drawing up a global vaccination plan to beat COVID-19, and make the upcoming COP26 a watershed moment for climate action.

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  • by Anup Shah
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