From: Union of Concerned Scientists
Published November 24, 2013 06:36 AM

Warsaw climate talks end with tepid agreement

Delegates from more than 190 nations at the annual U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiation in Warsaw, Poland today reached agreement on a pathway to Paris in 2015, where they have committed to adopt a new, comprehensive, post-2020 agreement to address the climate crisis. Countries also agreed to pursue limited near-term actions to reduce emissions. Overall, the collective impact of these decisions in reducing emissions is less than what is needed, but some progress was achieved.

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"We came to Warsaw hoping to see agreement on a process that will provide the right footholds on the climb to a post-2020 climate agreement in 2015, and we're leaving with a mixed bag," said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). "Negotiators provided the bare minimum to move forward on the climate deal, but the talks made gains on the international technology mechanism and hit it out of the ballpark with REDD+."

Through the hours of Friday night and into Saturday evening, exhausted negotiators agreed on the timeframe to put forward their post-2020 plans to cut their carbon pollution and set next year's climate summit in Lima, Peru as the deadline to agree on the specific information they need to include when they submit these plans. Unfortunately, they failed to agree on what process and criteria to use in evaluating the adequacy and fairness of each others’ proposed actions; they will need to work on this over the coming year.

The negotiations opened in the shadow of Typhoon Haiyan's destruction in the Philippines. With thousands of victims and graphic images of total devastation as a backdrop, negotiators set about tackling the highly charged issue of loss and damage -- how the international community should help vulnerable countries cope with the increasingly unavoidable impacts of climate change. Negotiators created a new body, the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, to address this need. In the final hours, developed countries compromised on language committing to a review of the Mechanism in 2016, where they will reconsider making this a separate body to provide it more authority.

Stack with industrial emissions via Shutterstock.

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