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Katowice COP24 Notebook: 'Ill-thought out' taxes fuel protest

Reuters  |  KATOWICE, Poland 

KATOWICE, (Reuters) - Talks billed as the most important U.N. conference since the 2015 deal on climate change have begun in the Polish city of Katowice, the capital of the Silesian district.

The aim is to meet an end-of-year deadline for agreeing a rule book on how to enforce global action to limit further warming of the planet.

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Below is a flavour of the mood around the event, held in a sprawl of temporary passageways and meeting rooms next to the "Spodek", a flying-saucer-shaped sports and concert venue.


0800 GMT

Dozens of young people waved placards as the delegations trooped in for another day of negotiation.

Shouting "Involve Us Now" and "Young Way", they demanded seats on all official delegations. Some countries, such as Scandinavian and Pacific states, have youth members, but the decision is up to individual governments.

0700 GMT

St Nicholas's Day, when Polish children wake up to stockings full of presents and the old mine shafts of are covered in lights glowing with coal-fired power.

The stocking-filler in was the decision of to scrap a fuel tax because of protests.


Delegates at the conference on the whole did not welcome the as many support the principle of taxes on carbon and on fossil fuels to favour the transition to

They said the tax was poorly thought-out because it exaggerated the divisions between rich and poor, town and country, as those living in rural communities would be disproportionately affected.

"The situation in is an example of what happens when the much needed transition to a low-carbon world happens in a disorderly manner," said Head of Policy

She said governments should ensure carbon taxes were used to "smooth the transition and ensure it does not become a political pawn".


Michal Kurtyka, the Polish who is leading the talks, took the view that the "polluter pays" principle is easier said than done:

"In my opinion, the problem is not in the principles, it is rather a problem at the level of implementing such a policy in the spirit of dialogue and understanding with people."

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis, Anna Koper, and Megan Rowling; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 16:29 IST