Warsaw Talks Arrive With Tempered Ambitions

Poland's Environment Minister and President of this years COP19 Climate Change Conference, Marcin Korolec addresses to the delegates of the conference on November 11, 2013 in Warsaw. (National Journal)

World leaders are meeting in Poland on Monday to kick off a United Nations summit on climate change, but hopes for a groundbreaking agreement on limiting emissions are slim at best. The best hope is for limited movement that sets the stage for a 2015 deal.

Such a deal, Reuters reports, "will not halt a creeping rise in temperatures but might be a guide for tougher measures in later years." In the wake of the global economic slowdown, many governments are more focused on recovering economic health than switching to renewable energy.

Another issue: Any climate agreement requires consensus, but what that means is unclear, Bloomberg reports. That has caused issues at past summits, as the chair of the proceedings — who will be a French official for the Warsaw talks — is charged with determining consensus.