German Environment Minister Altmaier presses for additional efforts
A number of important decisions were made at the recently concluded UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw. Although negotiations were difficult, participants agreed on a roadmap for a new climate agreement and on fundamental aspects of financing climate action. A key demand of developing countries affected by climate change was fulfilled with the establishment of a mechanism dealing with loss and damage. Another break-through was achieved during negotiations on forest protection. The decisions made in Warsaw have advanced the international community a number of steps towards the global climate agreement that is planned to be adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier explained: "These arrangements enable us to make progress with regard to a comprehensive climate agreement." For two weeks representatives of almost 200 countries had been negotiating in Warsaw on additional steps towards a new climate agreement. The negotiations are to be concluded for the Climate Change Conference in 2015. Minister Altmaier warned: "There is no time to relax. Everyone has to do their share over the coming months."
Countries are requested to submit their proposals for emission reduction commitments for the future agreement by early 2015. "We stand ready to do this. Every country, including major economies in transition, now has to live up to its responsibilities", Minister Altmaier stressed. Germany advocates that as many countries as possible submit their statements at the summit of Heads of State and Government in September 2014, taking place on the invitation of Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
Many decisions were implemented in Warsaw. The Adaptation Fund received 105 million USD. This was made possible in particular because Germany contributed around 40 million USD. "Since institutions are now operational, developing countries will receive the necessary support to prepare for their future obligation", Minister Altmaier said.
The decisions in detail:
Roadmap for a new climate agreement
The future climate agreement, which is to enter into force by 2020 at the latest, will contain regulations on mitigation, adaptation, financing, technology, transparency and capacity building. The contents will be specified over the next two years.
All countries agreed to draw up their contributions to the future climate agreement at national level and to present them in a clear, transparent and understandable manner well in advance of the Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. In doing so, the important demand by Germany and the European Union to set a date was fulfilled. The contributions should be comparable and suitable for achieving the goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of 2°. The Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru in 2014 will decide what additional information the countries will have to provide in connection with these requirements. They are also to intensify their mitigation efforts by 2020.
Developing countries need financial support to implement their strategies for reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. Developed countries agreed to ensure transparency and clarity regarding the planned scaling-up of climate financing of up to 100 billion USD annually by 2020. Environments for climate investments and strategies for mobilising private funds will be discussed in the Standing Committee of finance. With regard to the Green Climate Fund, dealing with matters defined as necessary for a first capitalisation will be a priority over the next year. It will be essential to apply ecological, social and financial criteria for the fund to contribute effectively to climate action.
Many developed countries have helped to create trust among developing countries by making concrete announcements and pledges to continue their financial support for climate action. Germany has sent a signal by making a voluntary contribution of around 40 million USD to the Adaptation Fund.
Climate change related loss and damage
A new institution, the Warsaw international mechanism, was established to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts. It will be steered by an executive committee to improve knowledge on and understanding of this topic. The mechanism will promote financial and technical support measures and improve the cooperation of institutions involved. The composition and rules of procedure of the executive committee will be adopted at the next Climate Change Conference in Lima. A working group will draw up a programme to implement the Warsaw mechanism by the summer of 2015.
Forest protection: Positive results on REDD+
A breakthrough was achieved with regard to forest protection. Emission reduction in developing countries will be verified by independent bodies. In addition, the basis for calculating emission reductions was laid down. The forest protection programme REDD+ can thus finally be implemented at national level. One third of global climate gas emissions are caused by changes in land use, with deforestation as the most common cause. Financial institutions within and outside the Convention will take over the methodological basis for the programme in future. The Green Climate Fund will play an important role in financing REDD+ measures. At the conference in Warsaw Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier also promised to increase support for a pilot programme by more than 16 million USD.