Warsaw ends with an agreement on loss and damage

Negotiators agree to start preparing contributions for the new deal, which is supposed to be adopted in 2015

Neha Sethi
Updated24 Nov 2013
The agreement at the Warsaw meeting ended deadlock between rich and poor about sharing out the burden of limiting emissions blamed for causing more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels. Photo: Reuters<br />
The agreement at the Warsaw meeting ended deadlock between rich and poor about sharing out the burden of limiting emissions blamed for causing more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels. Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: The ongoing United Nations (UN) climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland ended with an agreement called the “Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage (IMLD)”.

“The conference also decided to establish an international mechanism to provide most vulnerable populations with better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events and slow onset events such as rising sea levels. Detailed work on the so-called ‘Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage’ will begin next year,” a press statement issued by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat said.

“We have seen essential progress. But let us again be clear that we are witnessing ever more frequent, extreme weather events, and the poor and vulnerable are already paying the price,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC in a press statement.

“Now governments, and especially developed nations, must go back to do their homework so they can put their plans on the table ahead of the Paris conference,” she added.

The UNFCCC has 195 parties all over the world and its aim is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

The press statement said that the conference ended “keeping governments on a track towards a universal climate agreement in 2015 and including significant new decisions that will cut emissions from deforestation and on loss and damage.”

“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. This is an essential step to reach a final agreement in Paris, in 2015,” said Marcin Korolec, president of the COP19 conference in a press statement.

“In the nick of time, negotiators in Warsaw delivered just enough to keep things moving. The talks opened with a tragic reminder of what is at stake, but there were few signs of urgency within the negotiating rooms. Country representatives now need to return home to make significant progress on their work plans and national offers that can become the backbone of a new climate agreement,” said Jennifer Morgan, director, climate and energy programme, World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank.

The final agreement in Paris is aimed at intensifying domestic preparation of countries to increase their national contributions for bringing down the effects of climate change. More than 190 countries agreed to start preparing “contributions” for the new deal, which is supposed to be adopted in 2015. The term “contributions” was adopted after China and India objected to the word “commitments” in a standoff with the US and other developed countries.The agreement signed in Paris will come into force from 2020.

The press statement added that 48 of the poorest countries of the world finalized a comprehensive set of plans to deal with the inevitable impacts of climate change at the conference. “With these plans, the countries can better assess the immediate impacts of climate change and what they need in the way of support to become more resilient. Developed countries, including Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland have also paid or pledged over $100 million to add to the Adaptation Fund, which has now started to fund national projects,” it added.

The UN climate talks were launched two decades ago after scientists warned that humans were warming the planet by pumping CO2 and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. So far they’ve failed to reduce those emissions.

Associated Press also contributed to this story.

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