Nations on Sunday struck a deal to breathe life into the landmark 2015 Paris climate treaty after marathon United Nations (UN) talks that failed to match the ambition the world’s most vulnerable countries need to avert dangerous global warming.
Delegates from nearly 200 states finalised a common rule book designed to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius.
“Putting together the Paris agreement work programme is a big responsibility,” said COP24 president Michal Kurtyka as he gavelled through the deal after talks in Poland that ran deep into overtime. “It has been a long road. We did our best to leave no one behind.” But states dealing with devastating floods, droughts and extreme weather made worse by climate change said the package agreed in Katowice lacked the bold ambition to cut emissions the world needed.
Egyptian ambassador Wael Aboulmagd, chair of the developing nations G77 plus China negotiating bloc, said the rule book saw the “urgent adaptation needs of developing countries relegated to a second-class status.” Executive director of Greenpeace Jennifer Morgan said: “We continue to witness an irresponsible divide between the vulnerable island states and impoverished countries pitted against those who would block climate action or who are immorally failing to act fast enough.”
“Without a clear rulebook, we won't see how countries are tracking, whether they are actually doing what they say they are doing,” Canada's Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told AFP.
At their heart, negotiations were about how each nation funds action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as how those actions are reported.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has recently backed down on anti-pollution fuel tax hikes in the face of country-wide “yellow vest” protests, said France must "show the way” as he welcomed the progress made at the talks. “The international community remains committed to the fight against climate change,” he tweeted on Sunday.
“Congratulations to the UN, scientists, NGOs and all negotiators. France and Europe must show the way. The fight goes on.” Developing nations had wanted more clarity from richer ones over how the future climate fight will be funded and pushed for so-called “loss and damage” measures.
This would see richer countries giving money now to help deal with the effects of climate change many vulnerable states are already experiencing. Another contentious issue was the integrity of carbon markets, looking ahead to the day when the patchwork of distinct exchanges — in China, the Europe Union, parts of the US — may be joined up in a global system. The Paris Agreement calls for setting up a mechanism to guard against practices, such as double counting emissions savings, that could undermine such a market.