Monday, 01 September 2014

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Agreement reached at UN climate talks

Photo: UNEP

The Climate talks in Warsaw ended on Saturday with an agreement after a marathon session.

 After two weeks of negotiations, almost 200 nations agreed on Saturday that all countries should work towards curbing emissions as soon as possible and ideally by the first quarter of 2015.

Governments at the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw on Friday agreed a set of decisions on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and the degradation of forests.

President of the conference Marcin Korolec said: "I am proud of this concrete accomplishment. We are all aware of the central role that forests play as carbon sinks, climate stabilizers and biodiversity havens. We know the destructive impact that forest fires and deforestation have on peoples and economies. Through our negotiations, we have made a significant contribution to forest preservation and sustainable use which will benefit the people who live in and around them and humanity and the planet as a whole."

The decisions adopted provide guidance for ensuring environmental integrity and pave the way towards the full implementation of REDD+ activities (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)on the ground.

"Governments have shown their firm commitment to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Warsaw. They have delivered a set of decisions that will make a significant impact in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and catalyze actions in this critical area of addressing climate change," said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The agreement ended a deadlock between rich and poor about sharing out the burden of limiting emissions blamed for causing more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

 

Under the last climate pact, the Kyoto Protocol, only the most developed countries were required to limit their emissions.

China had insisted that developing nations should announce deep cuts in emissions while allowing emerging economies room to burn more fossil fuels to help end poverty, but the United States noted that all nations agreed in 2012 that the 2015 deal would be "applicable to all" and accused emerging nations of harping back to previous deals.

Even after breaking the deadlock over which countries should tackle emissions, talks continued on another issue that has divided rich and poor: the aid that developed countries pay to developing ones to help them curb emissions and cope with to the impacts of climate change.

The talks have also proposed a "Warsaw Mechanism" which would provide expertise, and possibly aid, to help developing nations cope with loss and damage from extreme events such as heatwaves, droughts and floods, and creeping threats such as rising sea levels and desertification.

The agreement on the so-called REDD+ initiative is backed by pledges of 280 million dollars in financing from the US, Norway and the UK.

 

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