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Figueres: UN climate talks in Warsaw a “pivotal” moment

UN climate chief says governments must advance in providing climate finance and creating a loss and damage mechanism 

Source: Flickr/UNclimatechange

Source: Flickr/UNclimatechange

The UN climate talks taking place in Warsaw next week should advance progress on climate finance and loss and damage, says the head of the UN’s climate body.

Fighting the low expectations for the coming conference (COP), Christiana Figueres said that it would be a “pivotal moment” in mobilising funds to help poor countries adapt to climate change, as well as cope with impacts that are already inevitable.

Governments are also expected to progress in the design of a new global climate change agreement, which it is hoped will be signed off in 2015, and in deciding how the trend of rising emissions can be stemmed in the short term.

“We approach the meeting in Warsaw at a pivotal moment in the international process to address climate change,” said Figueres.

“We still have time and the means to limit warming to the internationally agreed two degrees Celsius target. But to meet this international commitment, we must respond to what science is telling us.

“We need to urgently harness all existing momentum and use all the tools we have at our disposal to shift to low-carbon and build resilience to climate change.”

It is widely expected that the meeting in Warsaw will be a “transition” COP, leading countries down the path of a meaningful and legally binding agreement in 2015, rather than heralding any major new commitments from member states.

But the urgency of dramatic emissions reductions is becoming increasingly apparent. This week, the World Meterological Organisation announced that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had reached a record high.

The UN Environment Programme also caused concern with its Emissions Gap Report this week. This highlighted the widening gap between emissions pledges so far and the amount required for the world to stay below 2C, the level at which governments have agreed to limit warming.

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