Warsaw climate talks: final day live blog

– Updates by the RTCC team in Warsaw
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Latest headlines:
Row over 2015 UN climate treaty slows progress at Warsaw summit
Negotiating text for 2015 climate deal (ADP) released
-Latest loss and damage text released
-Rules on financing the REDD+ forests scheme signed off
-UN adaptation fund refilled with $100m
-Rules over countries measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) agreed

2303 – We’re calling it a night. The word in the corridors is that it’s likely to be tomorrow before any more concrete agreements. Our wrap-up piece is here.

1955 – The daytime session of the UN negotiations is now drawing to a close, but it’s not over yet. So what will the small hours hold? Exhausted delegates will spend the night grappling over the thorny issue of exactly what the 2015 agreement will look like, including how developed countries will be differentiated from developing—an issue that caused fiery Venezuelan delegate Claudia Salerno to blaze up at EU commissioner Connie Hedegaard today.

Loss and damage negotiations appear to be on track, but the key issue of whether it will be set up as a separate mechanism, or within the old adaptation structure, has yet to be finalised.

Finance remains unclear. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland have clubbed together to raise the US$ 100mn needed to fill the adaptation fund, but no one has been forthcoming on the more ambitious $100bn needed for the Green Climate Fund. But the word on the street is that the latest text on long term finance is more positive than many would expect, with clear indications on how donations may be scaled up in the future.

Stay tuned. The night is young.

1800 – Salerno’s statement appears to be in response to a series of tweets an noises from the EU camp over who is slowing the talks. A spokesman told us they had “no comment” regarding Salerno’s statement, but added this was a battle of the “willing versus the unwilling”. As we reported yesterday, the Like Minded Group of nations stand accused of trying to avoid taking firm mitigation reduction commitments under a 2015 deal.

1755 – Just when you thought it was quiet….Venezuela’s Claudia Salerno turned up at a pre-arranged press conference. She read a short statement, prefaced with claims the EU was not meeting its mitigation and financial obligations. Then she said this:

“It is totally unacceptable that the head of the EU tried to conduct negotiations by starting a blame game through media and pointing fingers at our group…by going to the media and attacking negotiating partners the EU chief is responsible for damaging seriously the atmosphere of confidence and trust. We are forced to answer her accusations to the media, because of the serious allegations she has made. If this process is damaged on this last day because of the incredible outburst by Connie Hedegaard, she has to take the responsibility of damaging this conference…she’s already damaged one conference”

1725 – G77 countries are now meeting to discuss their response to the loss and damage text proposed by chairs earlier today. Sven Harmeling from Care International tells us it’s still unclear whether the current text will satisfy developing countries – or what’s called the Umbrella Group, comprised of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation and the USA.

“I expect this is not the final text”, he says. The current offering does not explicitly mention a separate mechanism, but does include a provision for a “steering committee”, which could be seen as a first step towards a larger organisation.

1704 – One issue at stake is how national emissions reduction pledges will stack up to keep the world below 2C. The favoured option at the moment seems to be a ‘pledge and review’ system, where initial pledges are made on a national level, and are then reviewed through the international system.

But RTCC has heard that Singapore is trying to remove the ‘review’ element from this—bad news, as this would effectively make the international community accountable to no one.

Will it fly? From previous statements by the US, one of the biggest players in the UN game, it doesn’t look like it’s something they would support. Todd Stern said that the only way national targets will lead to sufficient ambition is if they are “open to sunlight”—a process of international scrutiny which should “should goad countries into making as strong a commitment as possible”.

Pledge and review itself is by no means universally popular:



1649 – This conference is just the first step in a three-stage process. Whatever happens today—and through the inevitably long night of negotiations that lay ahead—will impact upon what goes on next year in Peru and the year after that in Paris.Dr Celine Herweijer from consultancy firm PwC takes a look at what the situation as it stands means for negotiations in Lima in 2014.

“Countries need to leave Warsaw with a clear understanding of what they need to do in the next 12 months before the COP in Lima, so they can arrive in Peru with commitments on finance and emissions reduction to put on the table. If Peru does not deliver this, it pretty much puts the nail in the coffin for a climate deal in Paris 2015. 

“We’re so close now to 2015, yet the nature of the beast that the climate negotiations have become, means we are crawling slowly towards what we all hope will be the finish line. 

“The significance of this summit and possible outcomes have been down played by many before the fortnight in Warsaw began. This was no doubt a tactic to better manage expectations, and it’s succeeded. The flip side however is that it has also quelled any real sense of ambition and urgency to make progress on key issues, at a time when progress is critical. Indeed, unfortunately for some countries the progress has been backwards, with some backtracking on earlier mitigation and finance commitments.”

1632 – Negotiations have pushed the Green Climate Fund is one step closer to completion. It is largely through this that the US$ 100bn promised to developing countries will be delivered, but states are unwilling to deposit money into this bank until it is clear how it will operate. The structures are almost in place, but financial pledges remain decidedly vague. According to Ian Keith from Avaaz, “the text is still heavily bracketed”. In non-UN speak, this means that there are still plenty of sentences over which nations disagree.

1623 – Reaction to the agreement on financing the REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation) is now coming through…here’s Pipa Elias, REDD+ and agriculture expert for the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“Amid cheers and applause negotiators announced the completion of the REDD+ program design. We now have a complete definition of what the program is, how it works and how participants will be paid. This program is a fabulous example the U.N. climate process in action. Parties came together, worked through the tough spots and negotiated a program that will effectively address climate change. REDD+ will save forests, benefit communities and reduce emissions.”

1609 – The latest loss and damage text is now out – here’s point one…

Establishes the Warsaw mechanism to address loss and damage associated with impacts of climate change, including extreme events and slow onset events, in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change

(hereinafter referred to as the Warsaw mechanism)

1558 – Stian Reklev at Reuters has an excellent summary of today’s deal on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)

“U.N. negotiators on Friday agreed rules on financing forest projects in developing nations, paving the way for multi-billion dollar investments from governments, funding agencies and private firms in schemes to halt deforestation.

“The agreement on “results-based” funding for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) was a rare breakthrough at the climate talks in Warsaw, where negotiators are struggling to make progress in discussions on emissions cuts and climate change aid.”

1530 – How significant will Ban Ki-moon’s 2014 Climate Leader’s summit be? UN officials are quietly hopeful it will inject some ‘Red Bull’ into the process. Ban told Alister Doyle from Reuters he wants as many pledges delivered as possible, but realises there are political limits for some countries

“I met the U.S. delegations and I heard their positions. I understand that many countries still may not be ready, for their political or economic considerations. We may not need to wait until everybody declares their positions. So whoever can do, they should do by September next year”.

1523 – More intriguing tweets from EU climate chief Connie Hedegaard. Twitter-diplomacy in action…



1503 – Peru’s Environment Minister and future President of the 2014 UN climate summit Manuel Pulgar-Vidal Otalora tells us he wants to see pledges on the table by the time talks start in Lima next December. He also intends to try and rebuild bridges between civil society and the process. “I’m concerned…but optimistic,” he says.

1449 – I (Sophie) managed to catch a  quick chat with David King, the UK’s special envoy on climate change, before he rushed off to catch a flight. Contrary to what many are saying, he thinks the discussions so far have gone “reasonably well”, but we will know better by midnight. The US has been a good ally to the UK, while China is becoming an “exemplary platform” for climate action at home. He stands by what US climate envoy Todd Stern has been saying all along—that voluntary commitments are the best way for an effective climate change treaty to be signed off in 2015.

1443 – Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner for climate action, has wished France “good luck” for when it hosts the climate conference in 2015—the climax of all the wrangling taking place here in Poland. “You will need it,” she says. Not sure how positive that sounds…

1406 – Yesterday a large coalition of NGOs including Greenpeace and WWF walked out of the conference in protest at the lack of progress so far. Rumours have been flying that they’re back. George Smeeton from WWF clarifies their position: they’re not.

1356 – WTF (where’s the finance)? That’s what NGOs have been asking, and it is a question this conference has been trying to resolve. One of the big questions is whether climate finance will come from public or private sources. Some deny that private finance counts at all—but that’s not the view of Ed Davey, the UK’s Secretary of State for Climate Change. Speaking to journalists just now, he said that private finance could contribute more than 50% of the UK’s contribution towards the international climate purse. It could also be a lot less than 50%—”no one can say what the respective shares will be.”

1324 – Peru’s Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal Otalora tells RTCC he wants specific emission pledges and financial commitments to be delivered by *all* countries ahead of next year’s main UN climate summit in Peru….ideally at Ban Ki-moon’s climate leaders conference in New York in Sept 2014

1322 – Marshall Islands Minister Tony de Brum tells RTCC Mexico will sign the Majuro Declaration on climate change later today.

The Declaration: “Recognizes the gross insufficiency of current efforts to tackle climate change, and the responsibility of all to act urgently to reduce and phase-down greenhouse gas pollution”

1320 – News coming in thick and fast now…

1214 – The US has always held the reputation of being the stubborn big brother of the UN climate talks, thanks largely to its refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. This year, it has met with a warmer reception. Venezuelan vice minister Claudia Salerno agrees they’ve changed, but only a bit.

The biggest change in their behaviour, she says, is their “worrying quiet attitude and calm attitude”, which could lead to surprises in the end. But on the plus side, she says that at least the US are honest—so honest, in fact, if makes negotiating with them rather tricky. “It is difficult to negotiate with such an honest ‘I will not move from here’ attitude,” she says, cryptically adding that it is better than countries who say they want an ambitious agreement but act differently.

We interviewed Claudia earlier this week on historical responsibility for climate change.

1109 – Sharp words from France’s climate envoy at their press conference today: “If we don’t succeed in Paris, the chance of limiting temperature to 2C will be virtually nil”

1035 – Here’s some positive news….COP19 President Marcin Korolec says there is progress/agreement in the following areas [note – none relate to the top line 2015 deal/finance/emissions cuts]

-REDD+ financing
-CDM discussions “very close” to conclusion
-Adaptation fund now has $100 million


1030 – NGOs involved in yesterday’s walkout are already issuing press updates on plans to “challenge the fossil fuel industry that is at the root of this crisis”.

Here’s Hoda Baraka from 350.org: “At present any potential roadmap to a legally binding agreement by 2015 is being obstructed and overshadowed by the power of the fossil fuel industry. For us, this is the real conversation we need to be having otherwise real solutions will never materialize. This conference has served to really crystallize the situation.”

1020 – The Earth Negotiations Bulletin, a paper pamphlet produced every morning by the IISD reviewing the previous day’s (and nights) talks, offers some intriguing thoughts. It reports repeated concerns over the “inclusiveness and transparency” of the summit, and also questions over the “role of the Presidency”.

1000 – EU press conference cancelled. France lined up for 1030, Venezuela for 11.

0935 – Provocative or prescient? Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester and deputy head of the Tyndall Centre says consumption patterns in the developed world need to be changed so that emissions can be brought down – and avoid temperature increases above 2C.

0930 – More reaction to the ADP text to come…plus an update of where we are with talks over loss and damage/climate compensation and the hugely contentious issue of climate finance.

0925 – Last night I spoke to Greenpeace UK Political Director Ruth Davis about the NGO walkout – this is what she had to say:

“The message is very clear. We’ll be back to reclaim our part in a process which should represent the interests of ordinary people around the world, and in particular those suffering the consequences of climate change.  Leaving the Warsaw COP is not the ‘ultimate step’, but it is a very clear warning –  a signal that we will not accept failure.  

“I’m leaving the meeting feeling pretty disgusted by the way this COP became a showcase for coal. But I’m more determined than ever to create pressure for real action on climate change. 2014 has to see a huge increase in ambition – and a huge decrease in the influence of the fossil fuel industry.”

0918 – If you’re interested in the NGO walkout from COP19 yesterday – you might want to see the video Louise Gray filmed for us. We’ll have more reaction to that from former UN climate chief Yvo de Boer later today

0916 – A major story brewing is the role of the hosts Poland within the talks. COP19 President Marcin Korolec had promised to lead a constructive and progressive summit – but as our report and an article in the Guardian reveal, many delegates believe Poland is deliberately slowing talks down.

0911 – After a long night of negotiating, the latest text relating to the ADP or 2015 global deal track of talks is now out. A previous version on Thursday was described as “terrible” by UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.

0900 (Warsaw) – Morning all, I’m Ed King and welcome to our live blog of what is scheduled to be the last day of negotiations at the 2013 UN climate summit in Warsaw, otherwise known as the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19). We’ll bring you the latest news, video and some colour from Poland’s National Stadium as countries take another step (forwards or backwards) on the path to a proposed global emissions reduction deal in 2015.

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