The UN Climate Change Conference concluded with agreement over key issues
After 2 weeks of negotiations, tough as they always are when it comes to discussing environmental commitments, the COP24 has come to an end last Saturday. The annual UN Climate Change Conference took place in Katowice, Poland, and hosted more than 20,000 delegates with the challenging mission to discuss and implement policies up to 2020, when the Paris Agreement enters into force.
Although there is still much to do, there were quite a few key outcomes, most important of which is the Paris Agreement ‘rulebook’, an operating manual for 2020 which sets, among other objectives, obligations for countries to report their emissions every 2 years as from 2024.
Most countries also agreed to the need to be more ambitious with the 2020 targets, although many organizations and scientists insisted that the UN should use more forceful language on the matter. The indirect approach of some of the approved declarations and texts – like the Silesia Declaration (which aims to protect workforce while reducing emissions) – left many participants waiting for more audacity and engagement regarding the carbon emission targets.
Despite the fact that many countries still rely on coal and oil-based production, clean energy is rising faster than predicted, with shrinking costs. Technology, social entrepreneurship and innovation were effective allies, irrespective of countries’ commitments or investments during the COP.
What to expect for the next year, then? The COP25 will take place in Chile, since Brazil has given up hosting the conference. It’s going to be a key conference, given the fact that in 2018 fossil fuel and industrial emissions are expected to grow by 2.7%, the fastest increase in 7 years. It’s also going to be a tough year, as some countries are questioning the results of one of the most impactful and resonant reports about climate change ever published; the IPCC 1.5 report was indeed a source of tension and four major countries decided ‘not to welcome’ it. Debates are getting more difficult as the timeline advances, and the impact of climate change is more evident.