COP19—Warsaw Climate Conference
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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.
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,
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.
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.
In context: Typhoon Haiyan
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.
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:
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:
- Official United Nations section on COP19
- Official COP 19 website
- Updates from the Third World Network
- Coverage from Democracy Now! including useful news videos
News stories from IPS
Below is a list of stories from Inter Press Service related to the Warsaw climate conference and its aftermath.
NEW YORK, Oct 14 (IPS) - As we prepare to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it is time to recognise the role of working animals in livelihood systems, addressing climate change and in human health, which has been overlooked for too long. The Working Animal Alliance seeks to change this.
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 25 (IPS) - Wrapping up Climate Week at the United Nations General Assembly, global leaders called for climate action that may be "ambitious but achievable" and called for climate measures that would "leave no one behind". But some climate activists remain concerned about how this can be achieved.
WASHINGTON, Sep 24 (IPS) - President Xi Jinping announced on Tuesday China's aim to become carbon neutral before 2060. Achieving this goal will require the support and engagement of China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs), as they currently generate more than half of the country's energy sector emissions. SOEs are major drivers of greenhouse gas emissions globally, particularly in emerging economies.
LIMA, Peru, Sep 21 (IPS) - On the eve of its bicentennial, Peru is addressing climate change with the needed sense of urgency and ambition. Our inclusive, ‘whole society' approach aims to awaken new opportunities that are within reach of all of our citizens. Like COVID-19, climate change is a landmark which will have a clearly established before and after period. Without a doubt, it is paving a path towards sustainable development that will improve the well-being of all Peruvians.
State-Owned Companies Are Key to Climate Success in Developing Countries, but Are Often Overlooked in the International Dialogue
WASHINGTON, Sep 16 (IPS) - Later this month, government officials and climate stakeholders will once again converge on New York City (this time virtually) for Climate Week and the United Nations meetings. And while there will be much discussion about the important role that actors such as private businesses, civil society and cities will need to play in the climate change effort, there will once again be relatively little discussion about one key cohort: government-owned companies.
Aug 31 (IPS) - At the end of her first week on strike in August 2018, Greta Thunberg handed out flyers that said: "You grownups don't give a shit about my future." Her appearance at the 2019 UN Climate Summit capped a year in the spotlight for the teenage climate activist. Delegates at the summit gave her a standing ovation, but the sound of their applause couldn't mask Greta Thunberg's deep frustration.
NEW DELHI, Aug 26 (IPS) - India ranks third in terms of absolute levels of carbon emissions after China and the United States. In a business as usual scenario, by 2030, emission levels are predicted to reach more than 4.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GTCO2) equivalent of greenhouse gas—up from 3 GTCO2 today—overtaking the United States as the second-largest emitting country.
KOLKATA, India, Jul 09 (IPS) - In India the impacts of climate change induced extreme weather events on the lives and livelihood of people, particularly belonging to the poor and vulnerable sections of the society, are increasing alarmingly with each passing year.
WASHINGTON DC, Jun 29 (IPS) - Cast your mind back. Six months ago—it seems like a lifetime—the world's attention was on Madrid. The United Nations was meeting to take stock of international progress in fighting climate change. Headlines were dominated by young people pointing out—rightly—that governments were still not doing enough. They demanded urgent and ambitious action to cut emissions and help the most vulnerable.
ROME/SANTIAGO, Jun 24 (IPS) - The lack of a coordinated international response had led to varying results worldwide in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Two countries that have long coordinated their response to global goals like promotion on democracy, human rights and environmental issues, Sweden and Costa Rica highlight how public policy matters. While with their similar approaches to climate change the two walk together, their different approaches to COVID-19 have reaped disparate results, and death tolls.
HAMILTON, Canada, Jun 08 (IPS) - Do migrants willingly choose to flee their homes, or is migration the only option available?
There is no clear, one-size-fits-all explanation for a decision to migrate — a choice that will be made today by many people worldwide, and by an ever-rising number in years to come because of a lack of access to water, climate disasters, a health crisis and other problems.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Apr 13 (IPS) - In recent days we have seen the understandable decision reached to postpone the UN climate change conference – COP26 – which was due to take place this November. As the world reels from the widespread impacts of the coronavirus crisis, it is the right call.
NEW YORK, Mar 25 (IPS) - With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the planet and the governments of both wealthy and poorer nations overwhelmed by the demands of managing a response, the scheduling of this year's critical UN Climate Summit is suddenly in doubt.
Mar 09 (IPS) - This year, the Paris Agreement's effectiveness as a global response to the climate crisis is being tested as governments are preparing to submit more ambitious national targets for mitigation and adaptation.
NGWEMPISI, Eswatini, Feb 27 (IPS) - In the southern African nation of Eswatini, women, who already have too many household chores, have had to spend many hours for days on end in the fields, tilling and weeding the soil. But thanks to the gradual introduction of Climate-Smart Agriculture, some are beginning to harvest the gains of more time for their families.
Three Financial Firms Could Change the Direction of the Climate Crisis – and Few People Have Any Idea
Feb 25 (IPS) - A silent revolution is happening in investing. It is a paradigm shift that will have a profound impact on corporations, countries and pressing issues like climate change. Yet most people are not even aware of it.
NEW YORK, Feb 17 (IPS) - For any riverine country, the state of the water body around big cities and conditions of major rivers hold a leadership position in the overall climate effects and how the water body is protected and preserved impacts the entire economy and living standards of that country.
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 17 (IPS) - The United Nations Development Programme is leading a climate change effort that might finally address concerns many advocates have: bridging the gap between people and governments.
ILLINOIS, United States, Feb 14 (IPS) - Recently, the Associated Press cropped out Ugandan climate change activist Vanessa Nakate from a photo at the World Economic Forum. The remaining activists in the photo, including Greta Thunberg, were all white.
LONDON, Jan 31 (IPS) - There was only one topic on everyone's lips at Davos this year – climate change. The headlines focused on the cold war between Greta Thunberg and Donald Trump, but there was much greater consensus among those gathered for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
AMSTERDAM, Jan 22 (IPS) - Eco Matser is Hivos global Climate Change / Energy and Development CoordinatorFor the first time, the world's elites meeting this year at Davos have listed environmental issues as their top concerns about the next decade.
WASHINGTON DC, Jan 16 (IPS) - Climate change is already a reality. Ever-more-ferocious cyclones and extended droughts lead to the destruction of infrastructure and the disruption of livelihoods and contribute to mass migration.
ILLINOIS, United States, Jan 15 (IPS) - United Nations World Food Program recently released 2020 Global Hotspots Report. According to the report, millions of citizens from Sub-Saharan African countries will face hunger in the first half of 2020 for several reasons including conflict, political instability and climate-related events such as below-average rainfall and flooding.
SEOUL, South Korea, Dec 18 (IPS) - One of the main discussions at the COP25 climate change talks was Article 6which is designed to provide financial support to emerging economies and developing countries to help them reduce emissions by using global carbon markets.
Carbon pricing is an essential piece of the puzzle to curb emissions. Without a value on carbon, there is less incentive to make positive changes, especially in the private sector. The most efficient way to carry this forward is to allow trading of carbon both nationally and internationally, which will ensure the lowest cost of mitigation for participants globally.
MADRID, Dec 17 (IPS) - Millions of people, particularly in Africa, who lose their property, homes, and even die due to climate-related disasters will have to wait at least another year for the international community to agree on a means of supporting them.
KATHMANDU, Dec 16 (IPS) - Women in Asia and Africa hardest hit by climate change have a tough time adapting to the climate emergency, even with support from family or the state, finds a new study. The results raise questions for global agreements designed to help people adapt to the climate emergencyit adds.
VIENNA, Dec 13 (IPS) - At a time when the world is battling unprecedented drought, bushfires, rising sea levels and water shortages, reducing energy use across industry is one powerful way to fight climate change in the immediate term.
MADRID, Dec 13 (IPS) - Haiti's Environment Minister Joseph Jouthe has compared the climate emergency to a violent act and appealed to the international community for help to fight climate change.
MAUDUGURI, Borno State, Nigeria, Dec 13 (IPS) - In this edition of Voices from the Global South, Sam Olukoya goes to Maiduguri, Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria, and reports on how climate change is fuelling Boko Haram's insurgency.
Experts say climate change is a key factor fuelling the insurgency of the armed group Boko Haram. The insurgency, which is aimed at creating an Islamic State in North East Nigeria, is responsible for one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
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