Assaad W. Razzouk
21st December 2014
The Warsaw ‘COP-19’ climate negotiations were a widely acknowledged failure. But Assaad Razzouk sees a small silver lining among the dark clouds. There is a real prospect of effective action on climate in the run up to COP20 in Paris, 2015.
The response from Governments seems to be: ‘how do I negotiate the biggest slice of atmospheric space for my growing economy?’
There was precious little to celebrate at the 19th Conference of the Parties in Warsaw (‘COP 19’) in November 2013, where some 200 countries met over two weeks for the annual UN climate talks carnival.
In what is now a tradition, the talks concluded by kicking all substantive issues down the road to the next annual meeting and beyond to Paris in November 2015.
In another tradition, everyone agreed that we needed to do more and that next year will be different – even though “next year” is never any different and that in the meanwhile, the climate catastrophe is upon us.
Key non-outcomes at COP 19 included first, the establishment of an aspirational ‘Loss and Damage mechanism’ to help developing countries, and particularly small islands, cope with climate change, though this mechanism somehow omitted mentioning finance.
Second, the source of funding for the Green Climate Fund remained undefined, despite the pressing need for multilateral commitments. Third, the work program on long-term finance continued with little progress towards reaching the $100 billion per year promised in the Copenhagen UN Climate Talks in 2009.
The last two of these ‘non-outcomes’ are linked to the Green Climate Fund (or GCF), conceived in Copenhagen in 2009 and established in Cancun in 2010.
Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120