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Beyond Warsaw: Looking forward to COP20

11/24/2013 - As the world climate conference in Warsaw closes, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research are focusing on the next summits, and they are also investigating complementary approaches for tackling the climate challenge. “We still can achieve an agreement to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, but 2014 really has to bring some substantial progress,” PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber says, referring to the meeting of world leaders in September 2014 to be convened by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, as well as COP20 in Lima, Peru. “Warsaw did not yet deliver such progress, not surprisingly.”
Beyond Warsaw: Looking forward to COP20

With the closing of COP19, the 2014 meetings still have bring substantial progress. Photo: UNFCCC

"We now have a vague timetable for an agreement, and some financial committments," Schellnhuber told the leading German national daily Süddeutsche Zeitung in an interview. "Its has been recognized that compensation for loss and damage is imaginable." However, the main drive might not come from climate diplomacy but from technical innovations on the one hand and from warning signals that nature will send, he added. "Though it is a sad thing to say, even superstorms like Haiyan are just gentle sounds of the ouverture of climate change. When the drums start rolling, nations will have to move faster."

One major issue in Warsaw was the perceived gap between the developed countries and developing ones. "To balance the interests of (both groups) is delicate indeed," Schellnhuber told Agence France Press. "It is clear that the industrialised countries have a historic responsibility, but this doesn't free the rest of the world from the responsibility to act, too."

In Warsaw at COP19, Schellnhuber met with senior delegates and participated in an event of the Climate Justice Dialogue, a high-level initiative launched by the former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson. Ottmar Edenhofer, PIK chief economist and director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, hosted a side-event in collaboration with the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. Given the slow progress of international climate policy, it explored possible alternative pathways, “while keeping in mind that delayed action increases costs and risks,” Edenhofer says. The event focused on combining bottom-up initiatives from the national or subnational levels with multilateral top-down coordination in order to deliver ambitious mitigation.

In Lima, Jürgen Kropp of PIK met with the President of the next world climate summit, Peru’s minister of the environment, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal. They discussed options for advancing climate policy and possible scientific support by PIK. “It became clear that disaster relief and disaster resilience will become an even more important issue, particularly from the perspective of developing countries, many of whom are hit hardest by climate change impacts,” says Kropp. “However, only the reduction of CO2 emissions can avoid ever increasing damages, and Peru seems to be very conscious about that.” Kropp also provided a keynote at the Aula Magna Conference at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. This event aimed at preparing COP20.

 

Weblink to COP19: http://www.cop19.gov.pl

Weblink to issue brief on international climate policy pathways: http://belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu/publication/23528 /identifying_options_for_a_new_international_climate_regime_arising_ from_the_durban_platform_for_enhanced_action.html

Weblink to Aula Magna conference in Peru: http://www.pucp.edu.pe/aulamagna/

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