by Robbie Louw

Cop 19

The latest information of the last two weeks proceedings

Draft text for the new deal for 2015 has been approved at COP
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An agreement was reached in Durban in 2011 that a new deal will be developed by 2015 where the draft text for this agreement has been approved at COP19. 

The negotiations have however been concluded against a backdrop of extreme weather events already experienced in many parts of the world, and scientific information and modelling supporting urgent mitigation as well as adaptation. Within an economic downturn, signing up for ambitious commitments might be just as politically difficult than less ambitious commitments.

Following the two day closing session, opinions differ about the outcome. The Polish COP President commented: “Warsaw has set a pathway for governments to work on a draft text of a new universal climate agreement so it appears on the table at the next UN climate change conference in Peru.”

Yeb Sano, the Philippine negotiator who was on a hunger strike throughout the two weeks said: “We did not achieve a meaningful outcome.” UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: "The UK's key objective for the Warsaw climate change talks has been met. All nations have now agreed to start their homework to prepare for a global climate change deal in 2015.”

The negotiations addressed distinct working streams, Loss and Damage, carbon market mechanisms, forestry as well as carbon financing. A new mechanism called the “Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage” was created to stand independent of the UNFCCC secretariat, but reporting directly to the Conference of Parties. 

There is however no agreement on how this mechanism will be funded, with the COP decision simply stating that the mechanism will “make recommendations, as appropriate on how to mobilise resources”.

The area where little progress was made was in the formulation of the Framework for Various Approaches, also called the FVA. This framework is to bring together the rapidly developing national and regional carbon pricing and climate initiatives that is developing outside of the UNFCCC framework. 

Without a framework like this, there will be little alignment in the global development of stand-alone carbon pricing schemes. Negotiations on the development of the FVA will be re-started in 2014 prior to COP20 in Peru next year.

Warsaw also saw a historic agreement on financing for projects that Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), backed by $280-million of contributions from the UK, Norway and the US. The deal will see the funds distributed once developing countries provide information on safeguards for local communities.

This deal provides investors with clarity on the rules for REDD+ projects, and provides local communities with protections to preserve livelihoods and biodiversity.

The development of the Green Climate Fund seems to be on track with the Fund aiming at becoming operational by mid-2014. The developed-nation pledge of $100-billion per year by 2020 has been confirmed.

This COP saw more than 10 000 people with, over 4 700 government delegates, 3 500 NGO members and around 1 000 journalists. It witnessed the hunger strike of Yeb Sano and the walkout of 800 delegates.

With international negotiations not yet leading the way, it is remarkable how much traction communities and business received in the past two years in dealing with climate change. Half of the new electricity generation capacity worldwide is based on renewable energy. Doubling of renewable energy is feasible, roughly at zero net cost, with important co-benefits of health and GHG emission reduction. 

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