Key Outcome of 24th UNFCCC Conference of Parties at Katowice, Poland
25 Dec 2018
Through a Special Report in October 2018, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has clearly given the direst warning about the catastrophic impact of Climate Change in near future. The report states that we have only 12 years in hand to take decisive action on Climate Mitigation before situation is out of our hands, and that the world must be net carbon neutral by 2050. At 24th UNFCCC Conference of Parties at Katowice, Poland the overwhelming majority of parties took extremely seriously the messages of this IPCC special report.
UN Environment’s 2018 report on emissions gap that needs to be covered in next 12 years paints a dismal picture of where we are heading to and how much emissions world needs to reduce to meet 1.5 deg target set by Paris Agreement. Following picture shows gap between what collective Nationally Determined Contribution efforts can achieve and what is needed for 1.5 deg C target.
GORD’s Participation in COP24
GORD’s Mr. Kishor Rajhansa, Head-Climate Change, took part in COP24 to follow the progress on development of Paris Agreement Implementation Rulebook (Paris Rulebook) and introduce to global stakeholders the Global Carbon Trust (GCT), GORD’s Voluntary Carbon Offsetting Program, the first and only of its kind in MENA region. GCT received good attention from various audiences who visited GCT stand at the Business Hub of International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). Several stakeholders wished and hoped that this initiative may possibly become prime catalyst of climate actions in MENA region, helping to raise its climate mitigation ambition to meet 1.5 deg target under Paris Agreement. GORD was the part of UNFCCC’s Climate Dialogue for Sports sector in 2018 and was invited for the Sports Climate Action Launch event that took place with involvement of international sports organisations, international sports personalities, dignitaries and various stakeholders.
After Paris in 2015, Conference of Parties to UNFCCC (COP) continued to prepare the package of Rules and Modalities for Paris Agreement implementation. The main objective of COP24 that took place during 4 to 14 Dec 2018 was to deliver the Paris Rulebook. The COP delivered it with an agreement of almost 200 Parties with diverse interests and contexts. With rulebook, no Party can now say that it does not know what is expected from it and use that as an excuse not to implement its commitments under the Paris Agreement. Every party and relevant stakeholder (e.g. key industry sector) must now move to decide and implement its sizable contribution for 1.5 deg goal.
If these rules incorporated in Rulebook had been weak, they would have undermined the Paris Agreement, but they are not. Rules provide clarity on what is expected and will make it hard for parties to avoid their responsibilities. There are no penalties for non-compliance, but the system will ensure to what parties have done and have not done. See the L documents of Paris Rulebook here. https://lnkd.in/dXjV7Ph. Following are the some of the salient features of Paris Rulebook.
- The decisions cover that mitigation and adaptation actions shall be addressed in a coherent manner by Parties in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- The most important part of rulebook is the rules on transparency framework for action and support by countries. This framework defines the country level Monitoring, Reporting and Verification needed to track and report emission reductions, how the ambition of each country can gradually ratchet up and with what frequency under a common enhanced framework considering some flexibility for the countries that need it.
- A separate guideline is prepared on how periodic global stock-take of emissions can be developed for the world community to take cognizance of.
- Whilst there is always the risk that some parties may not want to implement their responsibilities, the greater challenge will be those that find it difficult to do so and need assistance to overcome their challenges, including through capacity building. The need and processes of capacity building is clearly recognized in the Katowice package.
- Finance and support were key goals for developing countries and the Katowice Rulebook addresses these needs. There are provisions for analyzing the need of finance and support for the adaptation, technology transfer, capacity building, loss and damage, and response measures. All these areas are well addressed in the Katowice outcome.
- Although the modalities for Article 6 on Carbon Markets is yet to be adopted, there is a clear signal in Article 13 text on cooperative approaches referred under article 6.2 of Paris Agreement, that can boost market-based instruments. Final guidance will be awaited on Article 6 from COP25 in Chile.
Overall, the mood and spirit of collaboration among Parties was positive that resulted in substantial outcome. The text adopted does not meet all the expectations of everyone, but everyone got something important for them. The outcome hints at moderate success of COP as still there are some key matters such as use of Carbon Markets into achievement of NDCs is to be decided and the Parties are required to set high level of ambition to ensure that the world is on track to meet 1.5-degree target. COP24 saw the gathering of more than 30000 people including environmental activists, non-governmental organisations, governments, industries/businesses, scientists, academics and many so many other stakeholders of diverse groups debating and conclusion on challenges and solutions lying ahead. COP24 conference center, a site of old coal mine in Katowice, was symbolic to the low-carbon future that can be built upon the burial grounds of fossil fuel.