By Neil Thomson
November 28, 2013
There is still hope for those we believe that an international climate accord will be struck by 2015 to limit pollution and keep the world within the 2 degrees Celsius warming threshold determined by climate scientists to be ‘safe’.
At the end of the Warsaw congress (COP19) diplomats from almost 190 nations endorsed a set of measures on a “loss and damage” mechanism that would help the poorest cope with the impact of climate change, took in $100 million in aid pledges to fund adaptation programs and agreed on a forest-protection deal, which provides the framework for REDD+.
Two key issues remain, however, with no resolution in sight. Namely how responsibility for emissions cuts will be divided up and how rich nations will meet their pledge of $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 to help developing nations with climate projects.
The deal in Warsaw was the result of a last minute compromise between industrial and developing nations on the emissions cuts they were agreeing to. The latest text talks about “contribution” to greenhouse gas reductions instead of “commitments”, wording rejected by China and India.
For Canada, a European report released to coincide with the United Nations conference ranks Canada 55th of 58 countries in terms of tackling greenhouse gas emissions, ahead of only Iran, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. This news despite Environment Minister Aglukkaq saying “Canada is taking a leadership role in international climate change efforts by focusing on delivering significant environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians” before she departed for Warsaw.
The take-home message from this session is that each nation must have targets to put on the table by the time they meet in Lima in December 2014, with emissions reduction plans due by the first quarter of 2015.