Almost three years ago, all 196 member-states of the UN agreed to sign the fam
ous Paris Agreement. By doing so, the signing countries undertook to do everything possible to achieve the overarching goal of limiting the increase of the global average temperature to a maximum of 1.5°C.
Three years after Paris, delegates are currently meeting in Katowice, Poland for the 24thConference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24). Taking place from 2 - 14 December 2018, the conference aims to finalise the practical implementations and guidelines that are crucial to achieve the worldwide 1.5°C goal. Many have described it as the most important UN talks since Paris. The UvA Green Office Team was able to follow the conference over the last few days. Here is an update about the most important things that have been discussed, so far:
Progress on the rulebook
A major concern of climate activists around the globe has been the enormous size of the document that includes the guidelines and criteria, which determine how countries and their climate efforts will be measured. Talks leading up to COP24 have already resulted in a 300-page thick draft rulebook. Over the last ten days of the conference, delegates were able to reduce the number of options in the negotiating text on the rulebook as well as give it more clarity. Until the end of the conference, the delegates aim to collectively pass the rulebook and implement it as binding international guidelines.
Multiple points still open for discussion
Even though delegates were able to reduce the complexity of the rulebook, there are still plenty of points open for discussion. Still open for discussion are guidelines on how national efforts can be achieved by mutually helping other countries. Another point that still needs to be agreed on is the financial and technological support of developing countries to be able to meet the national climate goals. However, these are not the only points of concern.
Over the last couple of days, a group of countries including the US and other oil states such as Russia and Saudi Arabia aligned to stop a key scientific report from serving as additional support to show the necessity of stopping fossil fuels such as coal, oil gas from being produced. The report suggests that these fuels have to be rapidly and completely phased out if the world is to stand a chance of meeting its ambitious climate targets. Instead of including the note of ‘welcoming’ the report and its implications into the IPCC report, Russia, the United States, Saudi-Arabia and Kuwait insisted it was enough for the delegates to “take note” of the report’s conclusion. This would reduce the significance of the report for the overall rulebook.
Many hopes and expectations have been raised before the start of COP24. 196 countries are currently working on solutions that will determine whether the ambitious climate goals of Paris will be possible to reach. The upcoming days will show whether the delegates will be able to work cooperatively on a solution that will contribute to an achievement of the climate goals. Only by pushing national interests behind and combining the united strength of all member countries, the COP24 will be able to pass a document that will serve as a binding basis for future climate endeavours.