UNITED NATIONS, Dec 16 (APP):After days of round-the-clock talks, weary climate negotiators in the Polish city of Katowice, secured agreement Saturday night on a set of rules meant to help curb global warming.The deal aimed to deliver the 2015 Paris climate agreement’s goals of limiting global temperature rises to
well below two degrees celsius, and meant for actions by all the countries across the globe post-2020.
“Putting together the Paris agreement work programme is a big responsibility,” the chairman of the United
Nations Climate Change conference, known as COP24, Michal Kurtyka said.
“It has been a long road. We did our best to leave no-one behind,” he told delegate from 200 countries.
Kurtyka noted the difficulty of finding global consensus on issues so technical and, in many ways, politically
fraught. “Under these circumstances, every single step forward is a big achievement,” he said.
“And through this package, you have made 1,000 little steps forward together.”
Approval of the agreement prompted a standing ovation from the delegates. But even as they cheered, the
outcome raised immediate questions about whether the steps taken in Katowice were big enough as global
emissions continue to rise.
“Katowice has shown once more the resilience of the Paris Agreement – our solid roadmap for climatte action,” said Patricia Espinosa, who heads the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat
and who was speaking on behalf of Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General.
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.
An agreement was reached on how to uniformly count greenhouse gas emissions and if poorer countries
feel they cannot meet the standards set, they can explain why and present a plan to build up their capacity
in that regard.
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.
“The guidelines that delegations have been working on day and night are balanced and clearly reflect how responsibilities are distributed amongst the world’s nations”, said Ms. Espinosa in a press statement.
“They incorporate the fact that countries have different capabilities and economic and social realities
at home, while providing the foundation for ever increasing ambition.”
“While some details will need to be finalized and improved over time, the system is to the largest part place,”
she added.
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.
This is done for example through `carbon markets’ – or `carbon trading’, which enables countries to trade
their emissions allowances.
The Paris Agreement recognizes the need for global rules on this matter to safeguard the integrity of
all countries’ efforts and ensure that each tonne of emissions released into the atmosphere is accounted for.
“From the beginning of the COP, it very quickly became clear that this was one area that still required
much work and that the details to operationalize this part of the Paris Agreement had not yet been sufficiently explored”, explained Ms. Espinosa, noting that the majority of countries were willing to agree and include the
guidelines on market mechanisms but that “unfortunately, in the end, the differences could not be overcome”.
In addition to the political negotiations among Member States on the Paris guidelines, over the past two
weeks, the hallways of COP24 buzzed with close to 28,000 participants having lively exchanges, sharing
innovative ideas, attending cultural events, and building partnerships for cross-sectoral and collaborative
Many encouraging announcements, especially on financial commitments for climate action, were
made: Germany and Norway pledged that they would double their contributions to the Green Climate Fund,
established to enable developing countries to act; the World Bank also announced it would increase
its commitment to climate action after 2021 to $200 billion; the climate Adaptation Fund received a
total of $129 million.
The private sector overall, showed strong engagement. Among the highlights of this COP, two major
industries – the sports and the fashion worlds – joined the movement to align their businesss practices with
the goals of the Paris Agreement, through the launch of the Sports for Climate Action Framework, and
the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.
Many more commitments were made, and concrete, inspiring actions were taken.
“From now on, my five priorities will be: ambition, ambition, ambition, ambition and ambition”, said Patricia Espinosa on behalf of UN chief António Guterres at the closing planery. “Ambition in mitigation. Ambition in
adaptation. Ambition in finance. Ambition in technical cooperation and capacity building. Ambition in technological innovation”.