（2013-11-25）After almost 30 hours of overtime, the United Nations-sponsored Warsaw climate change talks came to a close with a deal that failed to resolve key contentious issues but managed to keep every country at the table.
The intense-and-sometimes-acrimonious negotiations yielded modest agreement on an international mechanism to address extreme and adverse impacts of climate change in vulnerable developing countries, a way forward on financing for developing countries and a deal to move ahead on fashioning a new global regime to address climate change.
"Warsaw has set a pathway for governments to work on a draft text of a new universal climate agreement so it appears on the table at the next UN climate change conference in Peru. This is an essential step to reach a final agreement in Paris in 2015," said Marcin Korolec, former Polish environment minister, who presided over the talks.
Alluding to the high intensity live wire nature of the talks, Korolec said he is "keeping his fingers crossed for the Peruvian and French ministers" who will preside over the next two rounds of negotiations leading up to a new agreement.
Through Friday night and Saturday, there were moments when it seemed that the Warsaw talks would end in a stalemate or fail to keep everyone on the table as countries remained entrenched in their positions.
The deal, called Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, was hammered out after nearly 48 hours of straight non-stop negotiations that saw the use of the now familiar "huddle" and culminated in a compromise that protected the red-lines or non-negotiable positions of all countries, and disappointed many, particularly those from the civil society.
The most contentious negotiations were on the road map to the new global regime. India and its partners in BASIC, along with other developing countries, stressed on the need for ensuring differentiation between developed and developing countries. The industrialised countries opposed tooth and nail, retaining the firewall between developing and developed
countries that has formed the basis of climate negotiations for the last 20 years.
China and India, backed by a group of developing nations, stressed on the need for retaining the differentiation that exists. The matter was resolved over two huddles spanning nearly 30 hours of back and forth talks. For both set of countries this was a non-negotiable position.
"It is astonishing that China says that commitments should apply only to developed countries. I feel like I am going into a time warp. That is folly," US lead negotiator Todd Stern said. The US opposed differentiation and pushed for a global regime that is "applicable to all". This view found support of the European Union as well.
A long huddle later, a compromise was found, which "invites" all countries to do "domestic preparations" to put forward their "intended nationally determined contributions, without prejudice to the legal nature" latest by 2015, when the talks will take place in Paris.