Updates from the International Climate
Negotiations in Warsaw
The 19th annual UN climate negotiations kicked off earlier this week in Warsaw, Poland. The aim of this year’s meeting is to put the world on a path to the next international climate agreement, to be finalized in 2015 and go into effect in 2020. The dozens of USCAN members and allies attending the negotiations hope to inspire the United States to push for equitable and effective climate policies. Below is an overview of some of the basic issues at play in and outside the conference, as well as related resources–for those interested in learning more.
-Inside the Talks-
Country delegates gathered here in Warsaw are discussing what the future agreement’s goals should be, and how the agreement’s rules and enforcement structure should work. Some countries want to outline the rules of the agreement first and discuss goals later, while other countries prefer to discuss goals first and rules later. Still other countries would like to work on both at once. Finally, some countries are suggesting that developed countries should deliver on more ambitious short-term goals before the world tackles a new agreement at all.
Questions about the years before 2020 loom large too: Will countries that have already put forward climate targets meet their goals? Which countries might make their short-term goals more ambitious, and which countries might publically reduce their goals?
At this round of negotiations, the first since President Obama announced the President’s Climate Action Plan, the US Administration is highlighting elements of the plan that will help deliver on the US goal announced in Copenhagen in 2009: Greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the range of 17 percent—as compared to 2005 levels—by the year 2020. US progress toward federal regulation of new and existing power plants is a focal point of its efforts to reach this goal. The US is due to share its progress in reducing emissions with the international community through a report on domestic action by 2014. To that end, the US is also eager to broadcast climate action currently happening in communities and states across the country. By way of supporting global climate goals as well as reducing emissions at home, the US also recently called for an end to public financing of new coal-fired power plants overseas except in limited circumstances.
Here are a few of the other issues bubbling up in Warsaw to keep an eye on:
- Loss and damage: Which countries will be willing to have a conversation about the harmful effects of climate change the world is experiencing, and climate impacts to which we cannot adapt? The loss and damage discussion is very timely as we closely follow the tragic disaster and relief effort in the Philippines. If you did not see the heart-wrenching speech and call for action from Philippine delegate Naderev (Yeb) Saño, watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yITq61XedI
- Poland and industry’s role: In hosting these meetings, Poland has partnered with several companies in the fossil fuel industry, creating a lively discussion on the appropriate role of industry in influencing global climate policy and the UN climate negotiations, which were designed as a country-driven process. Civil society advocates opposed to industry involvement in the Warsaw meeting are careful to distinguish between their criticism of the Polish Government’s approach and their support for the Polish people.
Next week, we will have updates to share on these and other issues. For other interesting stories playing out in the negotiations, check out these resources:
Below are a few perspectives on the Warsaw climate meeting from US Climate Action Network members and allies. Please remember to regularly check out the USCAN Warsaw Website, http://bit.ly/I3Y8AV, for more resources and the latest updates.
- Flat Earth Society Storms the COP, SustainUS Blog, 11.14.13
- Calls for Action Intensify at Climate Conference in Wake of Typhoon Haiyan, Natural Resource Defense Council Blog, 11.13.13
- Where Is Obama on the Climate Treaty?, Greenpeace USA, 11.13.13
- Opening COP19 Warsaw: Climate Justice Take on UN Talks, Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) Blog, 11.12.13
- Poland at a Crossroad: Move into a Green Energy Future Now, or Stay Dependent on Dirty Fossil Fuels for Decades?, Greenpeace Briefing Paper, 11.13
- Designing “Measurable” Post-2020 Emissions Reduction Commitments, World Resources Institute (WRI) Blog, 11.11.13
- 19th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) Webpage, 11.11.13
-Outside the Talks-
Civil society participants here in Warsaw are keeping an eye on the outside world: showing their support for those ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan and for the leadership of our Greenpeace colleagues jailed in Russia, the Artic 30. Several specific campaigns on clean energy and on the influence of the fossil fuel industry at the climate negotiations are also gaining momentum. These efforts link those of us in Warsaw with the activities of the climate community throughout the world. We are following the lead of these groups on the best ways to help:
InterAction Members Respond To Typhoon Haiyan, InterAction Webpage with Links for Donations
Typhoon Haiyan Petitions:
Free the Artic 30:
Seize your Power: