Falling short at COP24

TOO watered down and stripped of a clear sense of urgency is how some experts have labelled the outcomes of COP24 at the southern Polish city of Katowice last month.

Representatives of countries that are members of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were bogged down on the exact language of the rule book of the Paris Agreement that COP24 was supposed to produce during the two week-long negotiations.

They could not agree for instance on whether to welcome or simply note the special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 1.5C. The United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait were identified as countries that refused to “welcome” the IPCC report.

At the end, the compromised wording in the final text was that “timely completion” of the report was “welcomed” and countries were “invited” to make use of the report.

A few decisions could not be made due to the lack of consensus. This included article 6 rules for voluntary carbon markets. Agreement on this was reportedly hijacked by Brazil, so the matter has been carried forward to COP25, which Chile will now host late December 2019 or early January 2020.

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