Nations are meeting in Warsaw, starting today, to lay the groundwork for the world’s next major climate deal.
The 19th conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will aim to commit countries to a timeline to achieve a new agreement in 2015, to take effect in 2020, Deutsche Welle reports.
But the parties are likely to make only modest gains, Reuters reports, because countries’ concerns over economic growth continue to interfere with action on climate. Former UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer told Politico that the Warsaw talks could “clear away some of the brushwood,” to clarify what key issues need to be addressed in 2015.
The Polish government called for a deal that allows countries to define their own targets – sounding very much like top US climate negotiator Todd Stern, who last month called for future climate deals to be more flexible.
A legally binding treaty is probably not an option, Politico says.
Meanwhile, some environmentalists have expressed frustration that the coal industry will be holding an international conference in Warsaw at the same time as the climate talks – although, Reuters says, the coal conference will focus on how the sector can cut emissions. Yesterday Greenpeace projected messages such as “Climate change starts here!” on the sides of six Polish coal plants.
The climate talks run until November 22.
Takeaway: Keep an eye on these talks, which could reveal the shape of things to come – but don’t hold your breath for a binding international agreement.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.