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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Climate summit, another disappointment
Latinamerica Press
12/19/2013
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Developed nations do not agree to emissions reductions and COP19 ends with no major results.

As in every year since 1994, representatives from 193 countries got together for the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19), of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Warsaw, Poland from Nov. 11 to 23. And as in every year, there were no major advances in regards to developed nations’ commitments to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) which are responsible for global warming, neither to comply or at least increase their contributions to the Green Climate Fund, dedicated to helping developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states in its report “Climate Change 2013:  The Physical Science Basis”, published Sept. 27 that “human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. This evidence for human influence has grown since AR4 [Assessment Report 4 of 2007]. It is ‘extremely likely’ that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

However, despite the efforts of the Kyoto Protocol —sole legally binding instrument signed in 1997 and extended last year until 2010 that forces developed countries to reduce their emissions of GHGs— some industrialized countries announced they would not abide by Kyoto’s mandate.

Social organizations retreat
Facing this lack of advancement, representatives of social organizations present at the event, including Greenpeace, ActionAid, WWF, International Climate, Oxfam International, and Friends of the Earth, decided to leave.

 “We left because we cannot voice our concern as we see the climate issue become a business and the large corporations decide many of the issues to be discussed”, said Carmen Capriles, a Bolivian ecologist from the Climate Action Movement, in statements to the press. “The negotiations are not going anywhere while climate change awaits.”

In a statement entitled “Enough is Enough”, organizations and social movements declared that “the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now focusing on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action. We will work to transform our food and energy systems at a national and global level and rebuild a broken economic system to create a sustainable and low-carbon economy with decent jobs and livelihoods for all.  And we will put pressure on everyone to do more to realize this vision”.

Peru will host COP20 in December 2014; it will be a big challenge for the Andean nation. According to the Peru 2013 Human Development Report, published on Nov. 28, Peru is one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change because it has four of the five vulnerability characteristics recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:  low coastal areas, arid and semiarid areas, areas vulnerable to floods, droughts and desertification, and arid mountainous ecosystems.

The report warns that the loss of forests in the Peruvian Amazon, due to the “dual effect of current warming and human activities such as deforestation and agricultural expansion”, pushes this region to become a CO2 emitter
— Latinamerica Press.


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