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Last-minute compromises in COP 19 fail to deliver positive outcomes

Posted on 24 November 2013

IBON International Update #13

COP 19, the UN climate talks in Warsaw, is running out of time. It is threatened with complete breakdown as major disagreements continue, with heated debates continuing throughout the night in the final stretch of the two-week-long international meeting.

COP 19 President Marcin Korolec faced huge challenges to keep the UN climate talks from completely breaking down as major disagreements continue in the final stretch of the two-week-long international meeting.

Desparate for the 19th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP 19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to deliver outcomes, Poland's diplomatic skills have been put to litmus test, as heated debates continued throughout the night.

As COP 19 wrapped up, indeed, compromise deals were reached on a pathway to a new global agreement supposedly to solve climate change, but not until after heated exchanges between negotiators from developed and developing countries on who should take more responsibility in cutting down emissions, and in providing financing to countries that have been suffering from the impacts of climate change.

This deadlock was loosened somewhat, through a measly concession that asked countries for 'nationally determined contributions,' instead of 'commitments,' for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the 2015 global climate agreement.

Climate financing was another contentious issue, with rich countries yet making pledges to help developing countries cope with the impacts of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, desertification, and others. The United States was adamant in blocking substantive progress in climate financing, particularly on how developed countries will make good on their promise to scale up yearly contributions to USD100 billion by 2020. It has even succeeded in having private finance be counted in as climate finance commitments.

What could have been the saving grace at the Warsaw Climate Conference, the establishment of an international mechanism on loss and damage to help countries deal with climate disasters, falls short as it failed to recognize that it goes beyond adaptation.

Speaking on behalf of G77+China, Fiji said 'there is absolutely nothing to write home about at the moment.'

These outcomes were also met with negative reactions from civil society, which staged a mass walkout two days ago to express disappointment over the way the climate talks were going. The walkout highlighted the serious lack of ambition in the talks, where developed countries even backtracked on earlier commitments, while dirty energy corporations flaunted their overweening influence.

Warsaw will likely become an example of an outcome that is no outcome at all.###

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