Communications

COP24 wrap-up

By Stacey Kimmig and Ayuska Motha (Photo credits: IISD/ENB|Kiara Worth)

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The final negotiations have finally come to an end in Katowice, Poland after a more than 24 hour delay on the final sessions due to a stall in the negotiations. The good news is that the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines have been written and agreed upon, despite concern that without the US as a strong leader, a positive outcome may not have been predictable.

The bad news: 1) one of the major areas dealing with carbon markets has been put off until next year since no agreement could be reached; 2) long-promised finance to developing countries to enable them to more quickly transition toward carbon-neutral systems in order to allow developed countries to more slowly transition away from such heavy dependence on fossil fuels has not materialized or been addressed properly; 3) much of the human rights language that the preamble of the Paris Agreement embodied has been lost; and finally 4) the commitments that countries have made to date are not ambitious enough to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement of keeping warming to well under 2C, and as much as possible to under 1.5C.

That means that there is a lot of work left to do! All countries will need to commit to reducing their emissions even further in order to curb global emissions within this very short window of time that we all still have. Missing this opportunity could lead to overshooting the average 1.5C global temperature change, leading to sea level rise, increased incidence of hurricanes, floods, droughts, salt water intrusion, coral bleaching, etc, etc. You can learn more about global warming in the IPCC Special Report here. The IPCC Special Report estimates “the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.”

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