At COP24, countries agree concrete way forward to bring the Paris climate deal to life
After two weeks of crunch negotiations – with overtime – the almost 200 parties gathered in Katowice, Poland, for the United Nations COP24 two-week climate change conference, adopted on Saturday a “robust” set of implementing guidelines for the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, aimed at keeping global warming well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.
Following several sleepless nights, cheers and applause welcomed the COP24 President, Michal Kurtyka, as he opened the conference’s closing plenary meeting, which had been postponed close to a dozen times. He thanked the hundreds of delegates in the room for their “patience”, noting that the last night “was a long night”. General laughter followed when the room’s big screens showed a delegate yawning whole-heartedly; the meeting had been set to wrap up on Friday.
“Katowice has shown once more the resilience of the Paris Agreement – our solid roadmap for climate action,” said Patricia Espinosa, who heads the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat and who was speaking on behalf of António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General.
Mr. Guterres, who has made addressing the impacts of climate change one of the top priorities of his term as UN Secretary-General, came three times to Katowice in the past two weeks to support the negotiations but, given the repeated delays, was forced to leave before the closing plenary, due to prior engagements.
The adopted guidelines package, called the “rulebook” by some, is designed to encourage greater climate action ambition and benefit people from all walks of life, especially the most vulnerable.
- One of the key components of the ‘Katowice package’ is a detailed transparency framework, meant to promote trust among nations regarding the fact that they are all doing their part in addressing climate change. It sets out how countries will provide information about their national action plans, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as mitigation and adaptation measures.
- On the thorny question of financing from developed countries in support of climate action in developing countries, the document sets a way to decide on new, more ambitious targets from 2025 onwards, from the current commitment to mobilize US$100 billion per year as of 2020.
- Another notable achievement of these negotiations is that nations agreed on how to collectively assess the effectiveness of climate action in 2023, and how to monitor and report progress on the development and transfer of technology.
Ultimately, the negotiations tripped on one key issue which will be back on the table at the next UN climate change conference, COP25, set to take place in Chile. This is the matter known in specialized circles as “Article 6,” regarding the so-called “market mechanisms” which allow countries to meet a part of their domestic mitigation goals.