UN summit failed to adequately respond to climate change impact: Activists
Katowice (Poland) : At the UN Climate Change Conference, which concluded in the presence of delegates from nearly 200 countries, green activists on Sunday said governments have failed to adequately respond to the catastrophic impact of climate change that was highlighted in a recent IPCC report.
Late Saturday night, the UN climate negotiations, known as COP24, drew to a close, with parties adopting a set of guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The climate change conference has failed to deliver a clear commitment to strengthen all countries' climate pledges by 2020.
At the same time, a relatively effective though incomplete rule book for how to implement the Paris Agreement was finalised.
"It is a weak rule book that we have for implementation of the Paris Agreement. This rule book is completely insufficient to drive ambitious climate action," New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said.
CSE has been tracking the negotiations at the 24th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) here.
The COP24 conference also failed to increase the ambition of countries to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases as per the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius, CSE's Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan told IANS.
Limited progress was also made with regard to how financial support for poorer countries coping with devastating climate impact will be provided and accounted for, says another climate negotiator.
The EU has made welcome efforts by building alliances with other countries and finding common ground on sticking points.
With several other members of the High Ambition Coalition, the EU has set a good example by committing to increase its 2030 climate target by 2020, in light of the warnings of the IPCC calling for "rapid and far-reaching" action to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
However, NGOs and civil rights bodies say the COP24 has failed to convince all other governments to make the same commitment.
Germany doubled its support for the Green Climate Fund to support developing countries, but other European countries still have to do the same.
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe Director Wendel Trio told IANS: "The weak outcome of this COP runs contrary to stark warnings of the IPCC report and growing demand for action from citizens. Governments have again delayed adequate action to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown."
"The EU needs to push ahead and lead by example, by providing more support to poor countries and increasing its climate pledge before the UN Secretary General Summit in September 2019. It must be a significant increase, even beyond the 55 per cent reduction some member states and the European Parliament are calling for."
Jennifer Tollmann, climate diplomacy researcher, E3G said: "In the end the EU did finally step up as a bridge-builder. But we now need to see whether they can ace the real test."
Andrew Wu, research analyst at World Resources Institute, said: "We cannot overlook land use, a sector which accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. There is now a common framework, supported by COP, to help countries measure land use emissions. All countries must adopt this and incorporate natural climate solutions in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius."
Commenting on the decision, Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group, Gebru Jember Endalew, said: "While there are parts of the package that could and should have been stronger, the implementation guidelines adopted today provide a strong basis to start implementing the agreement."
(Vishal Gulati is in Katowice at the invitation of Climate Trends to cover the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP24. He can be contacted at email@example.com)