COP19 in Warsaw, Poland: Seeking Progress on Global Climate Solutions

Written by Lisa Hayden on . Posted in COP19

11.10.13_National Stadium1_Schindler COP19 Warsaw

As another global climate change conference, known as COP19, draws to a close in Warsaw, Poland, The Nature Conservancy has continued to support consensus on reaching an agreement by 2015 that sets the world on a path that will avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.


The United Nations plays a crucial role in convening a forum for global cooperation on climate change. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help poorer, developing countries adapt is unlikely to be solved by individual countries acting alone. Without the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change hosting the annual climate conference, countries would have less incentive to ramp up their individual commitments to meet the scale of the problem.

The international process needs to be linked to the latest science in order to set commitments for emissions reductions at a high enough ambition level to avoid a global temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius – this is arguably humanity’s most urgent environmental challenge that threatens our organization’s mission “to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.”

Warsaw Establishes Weak but Still Workable Pathway to a Global Climate Deal

Warsaw, Poland | November 23, 2013

The Nature Conservancy provides closing statement on the final outcome from COP19 in Warsaw, Poland:

Like the sun on a November morning here in Warsaw, a tiny glimmer of light poked through the gray sky at the end of two weeks of negotiations at the 19th annual United Nations Climate Change conference.  Delegates worked through the night and following day to overcome entrenched positions and salvage agreement on a roadmap to negotiating a global agreement, a new mechanism to address the loss and damage that developing countries will endure from climate change, and a pathway for scaling up climate finance to $100 billion promised by 2020.

However, this roadmap is less clear than had been hoped with murky details yet to be resolved before a Paris conference in 2015.  “We remain deeply concerned with the pace of these negotiations. The agreement lacks the sense of urgency called for by the scientific community to quickly get a handle on carbon pollution, and there is an enormous disconnect between the delays we see here and the many actions governments, communities and businesses are taking around the world to reduce emissions and manage their climate risks,” said Duncan Marsh, Director of International Climate Policy for The Nature Conservancy. “Nevertheless, despite the frustrating process of trying to find agreement, solving the climate change challenge requires participation of all major countries that can best be achieved through a global agreement.”

The outcome sets the stage for the next two years of negotiations toward a global agreement expected in 2015. A critical point in that process will be the Climate Summit for heads of state that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon will convene in September 2014,which we hope will create the political will essential for adoption of a final treaty in Paris, 2015.  “Progress was much more difficult than it should have been at this conference. Countries eventually made some small steps here, but much more meaningful action is essential – quickly – to prevent the climate disruption already underway, and to address adaptation needs,” added Marsh.

The biggest drama of this COP unfolded over the so called “loss and damage” issue with developing countries calling for an expansive role to not only prevent but also respond to the escalating impacts of climate change. Typhoon Haiyan that decimated the Philippines has added a sense of urgency to the need to address “loss and damage” and address post-disaster recovery. After protracted negotiation, governments agreed to establish the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage associated with climate change impacts.  “This is a milestone that reflects the growing recognition that climate change impacts are increasing significantly and can no longer be ignored.” said Imen Meliane, Director of International Adaptation Policy. “This is however a first step as many details remain to be worked out next year and we hope that the good spirit of collaboration shown by Parties to work through major differences in Warsaw will continue.”

In addition, Parties agreed to modest actions to increase resilience of vulnerable nations. Donors pledged $100 million to sustain the Adaptation Fund – far short of what is needed, but a step forward. Donors, however, failed to commit to numbers to capitalize the Green Climate Fund or agree to concrete milestones for increasing their financial contributions to reach the 100 Billion per year by 2020 promised in Copenhagen.

The sun shone brighter on efforts to fight climate change through tropical forest conservation. New rules, collectively called the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ Action, were adopted for measuring atmospheric benefits from forest conservation, and for financially rewarding such activities. These advances were complemented with additional funding, as Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany pledged $280 million to a new BioCarbon Fund facility at the World Bank.

The Nature Conservancy will continue to support Parties’ efforts on reaching a global agreement by 2015 that sets the path to avoid a temperature increase above 2 degrees Celsius, by facilitating dialogue, and proposing and sharing knowledge that could better inform their positions.



During the two-week Warsaw conference, The Nature Conservancy’s delegation of 20 climate specialists participated in a full calendar of official events, side meetings and productive dialogues with government and NGO partners on climate finance, emissions reductions, adaptation and policies aimed at reducing deforestation and promoting rural development. Read more below.


Climate Wizard Tool Maps the Future, Helps Countries Plan for Resilience, Adaptation

Climate Wizard COP19 Screenshot

Climate change will cause different kinds of changes in different places. In some places it may mean higher risk for flooding – for others riper conditions for fires. What will climate change bring to your community? An online tool developed by The Nature Conservancy and partners enables users to map projected climate impacts for any region on Earth – close to home, or across the globe.

Read a blog post by Conservancy Senior Climate Scientist Evan Girvetz about how the Climate Wizard tool can help us to prepare and adapt.



Nature Conservancy Releases Country-Level Temperature and Precipitation Data for Climate Resilience and Adaptation Planning

Picture2 Precipitation guage Wizard 2090Picture1 Wizard Brazil precipitation 2090


During the COP19 climate conference, The Nature Conservancy released a new country-level dataset for its online Climate Wizard mapping tool using climate models from the latest IPCC science report. Users can select a country and view a color-coded map showing projected temperature and rainfall within that country during the period 2081 to 2100, depending on the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions (low or high future emissions scenario).

 Brazil Precipitation 2090

Check out Climate Wizard Data for 25 countries: or view fact sheets for the following countries where TNC works:


Ministers Meeting at Global Climate Talks  Should Heed Lessons of Past Disasters

Read a  JOINT STATEMENT on the need for increased public adaptation financing released Nov. 18 by The Nature Conservancy, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), BirdLife International and Wetlands International, at COP19 in Warsaw.

COP19: The Danger of Losing Focus on Adaptation

10797254835_6149f77575_z Flickr Mansunides commons Haiyan aftermath

Read a blog post by Imen Meliane,  Director of International Adaptation Policy for The Nature Conservancy

As the UN COP19 negotiations entered their final week in Warsaw, Poland, The Nature Conservancy’s Director of International Adaptation Policy reminds us that in the need to act on climate mitigation, we shouldn’t forget about the importance of adaptation.


Warsaw to be Known as ‘The Forest COP?’


Read a JOINT STATEMENT on the need for collaboration to achieve a REDD+ package released Nov. 20 by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) at the United Nations global climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland.

From Chile to California: the Role of Forests in Fighting Climate Change

Two promising news announcements came from Chile and California during the first week of the Warsaw conference. Read a blog post about work to build climate policies that recognize the important role of forests in storing carbon.


Scientific Call for Action Grows Insistent: Warsaw COP Requires Results

Photo Nov 11, 9 50 19 AM Lisa Schindler Warsaw Road to Lima

Read a context-setting blog post by two Nature Conservancy policy experts, Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Regional Managing Director in Europe, and Duncan Marsh, Director of International Climate Policy.  Warsaw must produce results — not just words, they write. But what needs to happen at the Warsaw talks in order to pave the way for next year’s talks in Lima, Peru, and meeting the goal of a global agreement by 2015?


Lisa Hayden is a writer for The Nature Conservancy

Featured photo by Lisa Schindler (The COP19 venue at a soccer stadium in Warsaw, Poland).

Photo 2 © Mark Godfrey (The old-growth forests of Chile’s Valdivian Coastal Reserve, a protected area acquired by The Nature Conservancy a decade ago, are some of the most carbon-dense in the world.)

Photo 3: Erik de Castro – Reuters, Flickr user mansunides Used under a Creative Commons license. (Devastation in the Philippines following typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful cyclones to make landfall).

 Photo 4 by Lisa Schindler (A booth at the COP19 convention promotes COP20 to be held in Lima Peru in 2014.)

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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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