UN Climate Change Conference took place in Katowice, Poland during 2nd-14th December 2018. It was presided over by the Government of Poland. The event is informally known as Cop24. The recently concluded event was officially the UNFCCC’s 24th Conference of the Parties which is where it gets its name ‘COP24’ from. The conference attracted participation of nearly 200 countries.
More than a dozen brainstorming meetings enabled negotiations to be successful on different topics regarding principles aimed at implementing the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015. Here it deserves a mention that the Paris Agreement, which was adopted in December 2015, sets out a global action plan to put the world on green track. It calls for avoiding dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C. It entered into force on 4th November 2016. 195 UNFCCC Parties have signed the agreement and 184 have now ratified it.
Coming back to the conference, for close to two weeks, a wide range of issues were discussed – some fundamental, others very detailed and technical – which led to a comprehensive document.
A 133-page rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement was finalised at the conference, which was unanimously adopted by all member countries. According to LiveMint, “The guidelines set out how countries will provide information about their nationally determined contributions describing their domestic climate actions, mitigation and adaptation measures. However, the conference could not reach consensus on voluntary market mechanisms.”
“We have been working on this package for three years. When we have to deal with positions of almost 200 parties, it is not easy to find an agreement concerning a multi-aspect and technical deal. Under these circumstances, each step forward was a great achievement. And I thank you for that. We can be proud of ourselves,” said the COP24 President Michał Kurtyka during the plenary session concluding the summit. “Our common efforts didn’t consist solely of producing texts or defending national interests. We were conscious of our responsibility to people and commitment for the fate of Earth, which is our home and the home of future generations who will come after us” he added.
The Polish Presidency at COP24 also initiated three declarations, which were broadly supported by the parties. On the first day at COP24, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda made a statement about the just transformation based on solidarity. Its adoption was an important point of the Summit of Heads of States and Governments. The next day, a common initiative of Poland and the UK, titled Katowice Partnership for Electromobility, was presented by Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the COP24 President Michał Kurtyka, in the presence of the UN Secretary General António Guterres. In the second half of the conference the ‘Forests for Climate’ declaration was announced.
India reiterated its commitment towards reaching the goals under the Paris Agreement and managed to safeguard its environmental interests. However, the lack of equity in the global stock-take decision in 2023; a proposed five-yearly review of the impact of countries’ climate change actions, disturbed India. Furthermore, no provision was introduced to extend the commitment by affluent nations to finance the Green Climate Fund beyond 2025. In 2025 their pledge to finance the fund expires.