Insights into Editorial: Hot air at Katowice
The Global Climate UN – COP24 in Katowice ended in success. Negotiators from 196 countries and the European Union worked on the Katowice Climate Package, implementing the Paris Agreement.
More than a dozen intense meetings enabled negotiations to be successful on different topics regarding principles aimed at implementing the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015.
A wide range of issues were discussed some fundamental, others very detailed and technical which gave birth to a complex and difficult document. Finance, transparency and adaptation are some of its aspects.
Expected Outcome of COP24:
The main objective of the Polish Presidency at COP24 is to adopt a decision ensuring full implementation of the Paris Agreement (the so-called implementation package – the Katowice Rules).
The implementation package will give the Paris Agreement a realistic shape by setting out a path that each country will decide to follow in terms of intensifying its climate protection efforts.
The ambition of the Polish Presidency is to adopt rules and tools that will create a systemic solution for the whole world, replacing the point-based discussion on fragmented objectives, which doesn’t allow for a comprehensive approach to all important areas of emissions:
- such as transport, energy, buildings, agriculture, removals balancing emissions (forests, soils)
- Implementation measures (including financing) and measures to adapt economies to expected changes in the future (the so-called adaptation measures).
The success of Katowice will be to make progress in the mechanisms without which the Paris Agreement will not be able to function in real terms.
To put it simply, “there is no Paris Agreement without Katowice”.
Focus of Attention:
During COP24, the Polish Presidency plans to focus its attention on three key topics:
- Technology – to show that there are climate-friendly modern solutions, such as electromobility allowing for sustainable urban development, clean air and an opportunity for modern jobs,
- Human – emphasizing the need to lead change together with people through the solidarity and fair transformation of regions and industrial sectors,
- Nature – including multifunctional and sustainable forest management as part of climate neutrality and the role of forests as greenhouse gas sinks, and support for a synergic view of the three UN key conventions: on climate, on biodiversity and on desertification.
It will be an opportunity for Poland to highlight its positive contribution to climate protection, underlining the scale, importance and effectiveness of national policies, especially in the areas of clean air, electromobility and increasing forest resources. It will also be a forum to discuss the level of global ambition.
However, Contention Issues: Disregard of equity:
- There is little to no finance available for poor and developing nations. The details on funding and building capacity have been postponed.
- References to “equity” in the draft rule book were erased by the U.S. delegation, leaving one Indian negotiator to remark that they would have to go back to the original language of the Convention if differentiation between the developed and industrialised countries.
- Article 9 (the provision of financial support to developing countries from industrialised nations) was ignored; instead, there was an emphasis on carbon markets and insurance mechanisms.
- Finance was not even considered until the Africa Group of Nations forced open the issue by boycotting the discussions. Still, with name-calling from Switzerland and backtracking from the U.S., there was a lot of tension at the negotiations.
- In spite of these problems, a single rulebook for all countries has been produced and will serve as a foundation for more detailed rules and structures.
- Many international civil society groups expressed utter dismay over the disregard of equity.
- Whether or not funds will be replenished even for the implementation of the current NDCs is unclear.
- Funds for finance, better terms for new technologies to be transferred to developing and vulnerable countries, and economic and non-economic support for loss and damage and their equitable moorings in the text have been eliminated, minimised or footnoted.
Enhancing Transparency and Monitoring:
Countries were looking to establish an enhanced transparency framework to monitor, verify and report actions taken in a systematic, standardised manner.
As reported in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), all countries would carry out mitigation. But adaptation is a significant portion of many developing countries’ plans.
Transparency what would be done to reduce emissions, how countries would measure and report progress, and how much support industrialised countries would provide was an important aspect of the discussions.
This will inform stocktaking of progress on the Paris Agreement and how much more is needed to cut emissions and raise ambition.
Technology transfer and capacity building support are also issues of importance to vulnerable countries and poor, developing countries that need help to transition from high to low carbon economies.
In Katowice, within the framework of COP24, many heads of state, government and almost 100 Ministers of the Environment and of Foreign Affairs from all over the world were present.
In Katowice, majority views that interests of all the parties have been taken into account in the Katowice Package in a sustainable and honest way.
But, more importantly, its impact on the world will be positive. Thanks to it, we have taken a big step towards achieving the ambitions set in the Paris Agreement.
Ambitions thanks to which our children will look back at some point and consider that their parents made the right decisions in an important historical moment.
Thanks to the consensus, which has been agreed on by the Parties because of their commitment, Katowice has become, after Kyoto and Paris, another milestone on the way towards a sustainable global climate policy.
In the Katowice Rules, different parties adopted a path that will be followed by each of them when it comes to stepping up actions for climate protection.