Climate change: COP24 deal to bring Paris pact to life | 2018-12-16 |

Climate change: COP24 deal to bring Paris pact to life


16th December, 2018 08:51:24 printer

Climate change: COP24 deal to bring Paris pact to life


Negotiators in Poland have finally secured agreement on a range of measures that will make the Paris climate pact operational in 2020.


Last-minute rows over carbon markets threatened to derail the meeting - and delayed it by a day.


Delegates believe the new rules will ensure that countries keep their promises to cut carbon.


The Katowice agreement aims to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature rises to well below 2C.



Developing countries seek recognition and compensation for the impact of rising temperatures.


The idea of being legally liable for causing climate change has long been rejected by richer nations, who fear huge bills well into the future.


Last weekend, scientists and delegates were shocked when the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected to the meeting "welcoming" a recent UN report on keeping global temperature rise to within the 1.5C limit.


The report said the world is now completely off track, heading more towards 3C this century.


Keeping to the preferred goal would need "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society".


What did the delegates focus on?


Representatives from 196 states took part in the talks. They were trying to sort out some very tricky questions about the rulebook of the Paris agreement.


These are the regulations that will govern the nuts and bolts of how countries cut carbon, provide finance to poorer nations and ensure that everyone is doing what they say they are doing.


It sounds easy but is very technical. Countries often have different definitions and timetables for their carbon cutting actions.


Poorer countries want some "flexibility" in the rules so that they are not overwhelmed with regulations that they don't have the capacity to put into practice.


What about cutting carbon faster?


There has been a big push for countries to up their ambition, to cut carbon deeper and with greater urgency.


Many delegates want to see a rapid increase in ambition before 2020 to keep the chances of staying under 1.5C alive.


Right now, the plans that countries lodged as part of the Paris agreement don't get anywhere near that, described as "grossly insufficient" by one delegate from a climate vulnerable country.


Business is also looking for a signal from this meeting about the future.


"Companies are ready to invest and banks are ready to finance," said Carlos Salle from Spanish energy conglomerate, Iberdrola.


"So we need that greater ambition in the policy to enable business to move further and faster."