Will World Leaders COP-Out Again?

On Monday, November 11 the 19th “Conference of Parties” of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-19) began in Warsaw, Poland. Negotiators are working toward a draft agreement with mandatory emission targets scheduled to be signed in Paris during COP-21 in 2015. Also on the agenda is securing financial commitments for the Green Climate Fund to provide assistance to countries to finance reform.

COP-19 comes on the heels of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan that struck the central islands of the Philippines this past Friday. The strongest storm to ever make land fall, Haiyan has displaced over a million people, and killed thousands. There is a clear link between climate change and extreme weather events such as Haiyan. The chief negotiator for the Philippines at COP-19, Yeb Sano made an urgent plea for parties to set aside longstanding barriers to binding commitments and act!

Closer to home, and to the Quixote Center’s work, a new report indicates that Haiti has been the country most devastated by extreme weather events (Note: The Philippines was number two, with data collected prior to Haiyan.) Countries like Haiti and the Philippines have contributed very little to global greenhouse gas emissions, and yet pay the heaviest burden from the impact of resulting climate change. Thus far commitments to share this burden from the wealthiest countries have been inadequate.

A new report from the International Institute for Environment and Development says:

Less than one-seventh of the US$5 billion needed to fund the Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs’) most urgent climate change adaptation projects has been delivered by wealthy countries — a sliver of their annual spending on their own disasters and globally on fossil fuel subsidies. LDCs played almost no role in causing climate change, yet from 2010 to July 2013, their deaths from climate-related disasters were more than five times the global average. International pledges of climate finance to address this inequality are overall both inadequate and unmet. The burden of responding to climate change should fall on those most responsible for causing the problem, and most capable of addressing it.

Expectations are typically low for these negotiating rounds, and COP-19 is no different. But we can still raise our voice. 350.org is circulating a petition calling for negotiators to make serious commitments on emission standards and other reform now. If you would like to add your voice you can sign here. The petition will be delivered to negotiators during the conference, which is scheduled to go for two weeks.

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