Latest climate talks make progress on Paris agreement

After two weeks of negotiations, the latest climate talks – COP24 – adopted a set of implementing guidelines for the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global warming well below 2C compared to pre-industrial levels.

Following several delays and late-night negotiations, the hundreds of delegates at the COP24 climate talks in Katowice, Poland could celebrate a successful end on Saturday.

“Katowice has shown once more the resilience of the Paris Agreement – our solid roadmap for climate action,” said Patricia Espinosa, who heads the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat.

The adopted guidelines package is designed to encourage greater climate action ambition and benefit people from all walks of life, especially the most vulnerable. One of its key component’s is a detailed transparency framework to promote trust among nations regarding the fact that they are all doing their part in addressing climate change. It sets out how countries will provide information about their national action plans, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation and adaptation measures.

An agreement was also reached on how to uniformly count greenhouse gas emissions and collectively assess the effectiveness of climate action in 2023, and new, more ambitious targets for climate financing for developing countries were adopted.

The guidelines “clearly reflect how responsibilities are distributed amongst the world’s nations”, said Ms Espinosa. “They incorporate the fact that countries have different capabilities and economic and social realities at home, while providing the foundation for ever increasing ambition.”

The one issue that delegates could not agree on and which will be on the table at the next UN climate change conference, COP25, is what is known as Article 6 or “market mechanisms” that allow countries to meet a part of their domestic mitigation goals through carbon markets or carbon trading.

Other key COP24 achievements include pledges by Germany and Norway that they will double their contributions to the Green Climate Fund and an announcement by the World Bank to increase its climate action after 2021 to $200 billion. On the private sector side, two major industries – the sports and fashion worlds – announced initiatives to align their business practices with the goals of the Paris climate deal.

Image credit: UNclimatechange via Flickr

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