Warsaw Groundhog Days

Old Friends, Positions and Impasses Revisited All Over Again at the 2013 Warsaw Climate Conference - A Report

  • Publications 23.12.2013

This report by Wolfgang Sterk, Christof Arens, Lukas Hermwille, Nicolas Kreibich, Florian Mersmann and Timon Wehnert analyses the international climate negotiations at the UN climate conference in Warsaw in November 2013. The report covers the discussions under the Durban Platform on developing a new comprehensive climate agreement by 2015 and increasing short-term ambition as well as the issues relating to near-term implementation of previous decisions in the areas of emission reductions and transparency, adaptation, loss and damage, finance and technology.

The report concludes that Warsaw once again starkly highlighted the sharp divisions and lack of trust among countries. Industrialised countries' collective lack of leadership strongly contributed to re-opening the traditional North-South divide. As a result, on many issues the outcomes hardly go beyond the lowest common denominator. The conference only agreed on the bare minimum to move the 2015 process forward and also made no headway in strengthening short-term ambition. Some progress was made with the establishment of the "Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage associated with climate change impacts" and the completion of the rules for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. However, here as well further substance, in particular financial support from industrialised countries, is required to actually fill these mechanisms with meaning.

If countries want to escape from groundhog day, they will have to start seeing and utilizing the UN climate process rather differently.

The report is available for download on the Wuppertal Institute's publication server.

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