Climate summit comes with low expectations but some opportunity for progress

The 2013 edition of the international climate change summit, officially the Conference of the Parties to the International Framework Convention on Climate Change, begins next week in Warsaw, Poland. Expectations for any breakthrough agreement are low, indeed a breakthrough is not expected at this conference, but many observers will be watching the United States to see the extent to which climate change commitments made domestically by the United States are incorporated into the country’s international position. Canadians may also be watching our country to see if movement by the US on the climate change front and the pending free trade agreement with Europe have any impact on Canada’s recent positioning at these conferences as “Fossil of the Year”. As a result of its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, Canada will only be an observer at the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) but will be a full participant in the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC.

GallonDaily review of ongoing international climate negotiations indicates that agreements at this year’s conference are likely to focus primarily on technical and financial issues with particular progress on forestry and land use. Expectations include:

  • frameworks for monitoring of forests and forestry activities in support of the program for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and sustainable management and enhancement of forest stocks (REDD+).
  • progress on an accounting mechanism for measurement, reporting, and verification of mitigation actions by developed countries, including accounting for binational and multinational efforts.
  • an international mechanism for assisting the most affected countries to address damages caused by climate change.
  • new commitments (or promises) for a short-term program of financing for climate mitigation and adaptation projects and programs.

As Chair of the Conference, the Government of Poland has set up a website at http://www.cop19.gov.pl/home . Polish government hopes for the Conference can be viewed by clicking on Incoming Polish Presidency of COP19/CMP9.

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