The COP 19 international climate negotiations in Warsaw, which have been labelled "the dirtiest climate conference on record," finally came to a close overnight, barely scraping by with a partial deal aimed at future talks and limited "concrete" actions in the interim.
"This summit has been shrouded in farce - dominated by rich, industrial nations who have put the interests of big polluters first," said Friends of the Earth’s International Climate Campaigner Asad Rehman from the summit. "They leave Warsaw with an agreement that will allow them to do as they please."
After two weeks of negotiating, virtually the only agreement reached requires countries to publish their greenhouse gas reducing plans for the period after 2020 by the first quarter of 2015 ahead of the next round of talks in Paris.
"Warsaw has set a pathway for governments to work on a draft text of a new universal climate agreement, an essential step to reach a final agreement in Paris, in 2015," said Marcin Korolec, the Polish host of the conference.
Negotiators did manage to agree that all countries should be required to reduce their emissions, including large developing countries such as China and India—a shift from the Kyoto Protocol, which only required the most developed countries to do so.
However, as Reuters reports, during the two week negotiations, "no major nation offered tougher action to slow rising world greenhouse gas emissions and Japan backtracked from its carbon goals for 2020, after shuttering its nuclear industry after the Fukushima disaster."
Only one "concrete measure" came of the talks, reports Reuters: an agreement on new rules to protect tropical forests.
“World leaders better get their act together quickly. If they show up empty-handed in 2015 and don’t secure a strong international agreement, they’ll be known as the generation that clearly saw the growing threat of global climate change, and failed to try to stop it,” stated Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who attended the Warsaw conference.
FOE's Rehman added, "With the planet careening towards catastrophic climate change, the international community has done nothing in Warsaw to take its foot off the accelerator."
The only "ray of hope" Rehman saw at the conference was a mass walk-out by the world’s leading green, anti-poverty, youth and faith groups, denouncing the summit as putting corporate profits above people and being "on track to deliver virtually nothing."
One hundred and thirty two of the world's poorest and less-developed nations, including the G77 nations and China, also staged their own walk-out at one point, accusing the wealthiest nations, such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the EU states of sabotaging any hope for progress.