EU welcomes progress on international climate action at Warsaw conference

| November 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

climate-actionThe European Union has welcomed the outcome of the United Nations climate conference in Warsaw as a step forward in the international fight against climate change. The conference agreed a timeplan for countries to table their contributions to reducing or limiting greenhouse gas emissions under a new global climate agreement to be adopted in 2015. It also agreed ways to accelerate efforts to deepen emission cuts over the rest of this decade, and to set up a mechanism to address losses and damage caused by climate change in vulnerable developing countries.

In addition, the conference agreed decisions which enhance the implementation of a range of measures already agreed at international level, including finance to support developing countries, combatting tropical deforestation, and transparency of reporting on emissions.

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: “The Warsaw climate conference showed how challenging the way to an ambitious result in Paris will be. But the last hours also showed that we are capable of moving forward. The EU wanted the stepwise approach that is now agreed as the way forward: all countries must contribute to the future reduction efforts, and already now all countries must go home and do their homework in order to table their contributions well in advance of the Paris conference, and by the first quarter of 2015 by those ready to do so.

“For sure there will be faster and less bumpy ways to Paris but now the journey has started. We must make it there. And congratulations to the most vulnerable countries, as Warsaw agreed to establish a mechanism to promote approaches to address loss and damage caused by climate change in vulnerable developing countries.’’

2015 agreement and pre-2020 ambition

The conference agreed to accelerate work on the 2015 agreement, which will enter force in 2020, and on stepping up the ambition of emission reductions over the rest of this decade. The decision sets out a clear timeline for countries to prepare their intended contributions to limiting or reducing emissions under the 2015 agreement in order to keep global warming below 2°C. Contributions should be tabled well in advance of the Paris conference, and by the first quarter of 2015 by those ready to do so. The information that countries will need to provide with their contributions, in order to explain them, will be decided by the time of the next UN climate change conference a year from now in Lima, Peru. The decision also sets out a number of ways in which activities to enhance pre-2020 ambition will be accelerated.

Climate finance

The European Union and its member states – which together are the biggest donor of Official Development Assistance and the leading provider of climate finance to developing countries – showed in Warsaw that they are delivering on climate finance and will continue to do so in the future.

Last year the EU and a number of Member States announced voluntary contributions totalling around €5.5 billion, and a recent assessment shows they are on track to deliver this in 2013. In Warsaw the EU and several Member States announced new climate finance for 2014. The indicative contributions to developing countries are expected to be at least at the same level as in 2013. In particular, EU Member States have contributed well over half of a US $100 million addition to the Adaptation Fund requested by developing countries.

Warsaw also made an important contribution towards operationalising the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) in order to respond to the demands of developing countries for scaled-up climate finance. This progress takes the form of a decision laying down the working relationship between the Conference of the Parties and the GCF, an important issue which could not be resolved last year. Several EU Member States announced that they were ready to pledge contributions to the GCF once the Board has completed its work in bringing the Fund into operation.

The conference agreed a decision on long-term finance which urges developed countries to continue mobilising public climate finance for developing countries at increasing levels, in line with the existing commitment of developed countries to mobilise US$ 100 billion per year from a wide variety of sources by 2020. In the decision, developed countries also commit to increase the transparency of reporting on their efforts to scale up climate finance.

Loss and damage

The conference agreed to establish a mechanism to promote approaches to address loss and damage caused by climate change in vulnerable developing countries, a key demand of developing countries. The ‘Warsaw international mechanism’ aims to enhance action and support to address loss and damage, improve knowledge and strengthen co-ordination.

Emissions from tropical deforestation

Efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries – the so-called REDD+ agenda – marked a major step forward with agreement on a package of decisions providing the necessary methodological framework. The ‘Warsaw Framework for REDD+’ largely completes the ‘rulebook’ for implementing REDD+.

Transparency rules

Agreement on rules to improve the transparency of reporting by developing countries on their emissions means a new system of ‘iinternational consultation and analysis’ can become fully operational. For the first time, greenhouse gas inventories and other relevant information submitted by developing countries will be reviewed by a team of technical experts with proven expertise in the field.


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Category: A Frontpage, Climate change, Environment, EU

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