Warsaw decisions: contributions instead of commitments
Despite the fact that the UN climate conference in Warsaw was called a failure long before its closing, its participants still managed to find compromises. During forty "overtime" hours, the negotiating parties managed to agree on damages and losses and on long-term financing.
The main themes of the negotiating session were the new climate agreement, the compensation mechanism for damages and losses, as well as issues of long-term financing. Discussion of each of the issues was hot, sometimes with scandals. The day before the official closure of the negotiations, several hundred observers demonstratively left the building of the stadium, which hosted the summit. In such a way the activists wanted to "reach out" the official delegates who were protracting and ruining the process. Such a move was the first one in the entire history of climate negotiations.
Climate Action Network called the summit a missed opportunity, saying that "business puppeteers pulled the strings." According to observers, Poland, the summit "hostess," negatively influenced the negotiations, organizing the parallel coal forum and sacking the Minister of Environment during the conference.
The most scandalous at the Warsaw conference was the issue of developing a mechanism for damage and losses. After long discussions accompanied by a temporary "process paralysis," protests by African countries and observers, the mechanism to cover losses from climate change has been approved and was even called "the Warsaw mechanism” after the Polish capital. However, Warsaw has left it disembodied – it has not received the appropriate mechanism of financial support. The parties agreed to discuss this issue again in 2016, and added a clause in the preamble that "sometimes damage and losses cannot be prevented by adaptation measures."
Other decisions on climate finance were also adopted in Warsaw. Thus, the Adaptation Fund received a significant recharge of $ 100 million. The money shall go to approved projects on adaptation to climate change (a project from Uzbekistan is the fourth in the list). However, Warsaw decisions miss the requirement to provide $ 70 billion funding for developing countries by 2016. No clarity appeared in the way how developed countries will increase assistance to developing ones in mitigating climate change up to 100 billion dollars per year, as it was planned.
The "architecture" of the new agreement which should replace the Kyoto Protocol became the "bone of contention.” Controversial was also the question of "division" of countries in developed and developing ones - the delegations could not agree whether to make a reference in the new text to an Article of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, enshrining division of countries into developed and developing ones. The suggested list "of possible directions for further reflection" caused controversy. Developing countries found it incomplete and unfairly limiting the negotiating process. As a result, instead of referring to specific articles, the parties have replaced the term "commitment" by a more abstract one - "contributions to the fight against climate change." It was also decided that countries shall declare their "contributions" as soon as possible before the conference in Paris in 2015, for example, in the first quarter "for those countries which will be ready for this." The overall architecture of the new agreement is very sketchy, short and yet not like a "road map."
The launch of a mechanism to combat deforestation and cutting tropical forests - REDD + - was an only real "breakthrough" at the conference. The package of important technical decisions that were necessary for developing countries to start projects within the framework of this mechanism was even backed with $ 280 million.
Representatives of official delegations evaluate the results differently. Most delegations of developed countries welcomed the outcomes of the negotiations, noting that they were able to pave the "path" to the key conference in Paris. Alexander Bedritsky, the advisor to the President and Special Envoy on Climate Change, told reporters that the successful conclusion of the REDD + negotiations will allow countries to move to a more focused consideration of issues related to boreal forests, the importance of which is traditionally underlined by the Russian Federation.
Developing countries especially vulnerable to impacts of the climate change announced that their hopes largely failed to materialize. The Group of Island States AOSIS noted that "the conference demonstrated that the international community still has fundamental differences in opinions how to tackle the climate change."
Starting from the next year, the working group on the new agreement will meet more frequently - the first session will be held already in spring. From next year, negotiations go to the highest level - representatives of the Russian delegation said that climate issues will be discussed along with other topics at the G8 meeting, which will be held next year under the chairmanship of Russia. In addition, the climate summit organized by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is planned for September 2014. According to him, "it is necessary that developed countries head the campaign to combat climate change, and the G20 countries, and especially the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shall be an example of such leadership."