After two busy week, the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded with a ‘rulebook’ being the major outcome.
It showed that multilateralism has been damaged but not dead (with US walking out of the Paris Agreement; Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait joining hands with the USA to reject the IPCC’s findings)
What is the “rulebook”?
- It is the operating manual needed in 2020 when the global deal (for climate actions by all the countries) enters into force in 2020.
- The rulebook will include the ways in which the government will measure, verify and report their emission cutting efforts. This is important because it will ensure that all the countries are held accountable and will not find it easy to dodge their commitments.
At the conference, it was also agreed that a new climate regime shall be started under which all the countries will have to report their emissions and progress they make towards cutting the emission biennially from 2024.
The Katowice package has also included guidelines for establishing new financial targets from 2025 onwards. This also includes how to conduct the Global Stocktake (GST) of the efficacy of Climate action in 2023 and propel the development and transfer of technology.
What was absent from the talks was the key agenda as to how will countries step up their targets on cutting their emissions.
Inferring from the IPCC’s findings, the world has little more than 10 years to bring down the emissions under control and stablise the climate.
On current targets, the world is set for 3C of warming from pre-industrial levels, which scientists say would be disastrous, resulting in droughts, floods, sea level rises and the decline of agricultural productivity.
The key deadline is 2020, when countries must demonstrate numbers in terms of current emissions and if they have met the deadline and produce new targets for 2030.
What was the roadblock here?
US’s refusal to acknowledge and embrace IPCC ‘S findings, along with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait reeks of trouble ahead. Australia joined hands with the US in a celebration of coal, and Brazil signalled its climate scepticism. Brazil’s new demands regarding treatment of forests has been pushed back to 2019.
- Remarkable changes in the Global economy is the only way ahead. This must be accompanied by a transition towards low and zero carbon energy and mitigation strategies Clean energy is coming onboard with the cost going down, but this needs to be accelerated.
- Barring a couple of countries, EU along with a handful of some of the developed countries of the world along with the poorest among the world have affirmed their commitment to meet the IPCC’s advice on limiting warming to no more than 1.5C. This is worth applauding.
The need of the hour is to treat climate change and environment as an integral part of development. If we treat climate changes is treated as something marginal to the GDP growth, Climate change will stress out our development fabric and our lives.
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