The U.N. climate treaty process, hatched in the '90s, was intended to fight the looming threat of climate change. But as climate negotiators meet in Warsaw this month to develop a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, they are doing so not under the looming threat of climate change — they are doing so in a world currently being throttled by climate change.
That change in the weather is changing the tone of the negotiations. And it’s doing so in a way that some say is a distraction from the original purpose of the treaty process, which was to try to arrest climate change.
No longer are poor countries asking rich ones merely to shoulder the financial burden of reducing emissions. (In past talks, wealthy countries committed to pouring $100 billion a year by 2020 into the new Green Climate Fund to help the others reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.) Now developing countries are also demanding compensation for “loss and damage” caused by climate change, such as the typhoon that just ravaged the Philippines.