UN Climate Summit in Poland Katowice

After two weeks of tough negotiations, the state representatives at the UN World Climate Change Conference in Katowice have agreed on a package to implement the Paris Climate Agreement.

Three years after the historic agreement on the Paris Climate Agreement, nearly 200 states have agreed common rules for their practical implementation. The head of the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland, Michal Kurtyka, sealed the plenary compromise in Katowice with a hammer blow.

The goal of the agreement is to limit global warming to well below two degrees. For this, the emission of greenhouse gases, for example from the combustion of coal and oil, must be drastically reduced in the coming years. Currently, the earth is heading for a warming of at least three degrees.

Two weeks had been negotiated in the Polish city, with one day delay is now the final document. The negotiating teams welcomed the decision with applause and cheers. “That was hard work,” Kurtyka said, speaking of a “historical moment.”

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze also expressed relief. There are now common rules for all, how the states in future compare and measure in terms of climate protection. “We have to make sure that this earth remains habitable and that is the responsibility of this generation.”

Among other things, the Summit agreed on transparency rules and CO2 collection standards, so that states’ climate change efforts can be compared. However, poor countries are given time to create the technical conditions for this.

In particular, a dispute over calculation procedures for emissions trading had delayed the conclusion. Brazil thumped on a formulation that would have allowed other countries to double count its emission reductions. The solution to the dispute was adjourned.

The agreement stipulates that in order to help poor countries fight climate change, industrialized countries must submit a biannual report on their future adaptation and mitigation funding. This should give developing countries planning security. However, the rich states can also credit credits fully, which comes to protest with aid organizations.

According to the Paris Climate Agreement, the industrialized countries will have to provide $ 100 billion a year from 2020 for climate protection and adaptation in poor countries. In addition, climate change mitigation and loss will in future be included in regular surveys on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

This point is considered to be the success of particularly endangered islands that want more support to deal with damage such as rising sea levels. In a first draft of the final declaration, the topic had appeared in just one footnote.

In Katowice, states reaffirmed that they will present updated climate targets by 2020, as envisaged by the Paris Agreement. A request that the goals are to be increased significantly, as climate protectors had demanded, cannot be found in the text.

The final document also includes a recognition of the recent Special Report of the IPCC, which calls for increased commitment to achieving the 1.5-degree objective. This point had been particularly controversial in the negotiations. The US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia had positioned themselves against it. Here is a compromise formula.

The next UN climate summit will take place in Chile, according to the local environment ministry, either in December 2019 or January 2020.

Supriya Bhor

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