Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement in Katowice, Poland

Representatives from nearly 200 nations have been attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Katowice since Dec. 2 to work on implementing the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Scheduled to end Friday, it will be extended two days due to discord.
December 17, 2018, 12pm PST | Irvin Dawid
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Bernadetta Sarat

[UpdateBrad Plumer, climate reporter for The New York Times, reports on Saturday from Katowice that a deal has been reached that "will ultimately require every country in the world to follow a uniform set of standards for measuring their planet-warming emissions and tracking their climate policies."]

"Critical climate talks have been extended by two days after big polluters including the US and Saudi Arabia pushed back against key scientific findings," reports Josh Gabbatiss, science correspondent for the London-based Independent, on Friday.

Tensions are running high in the Polish city of Katowice following two weeks of fraught discussions at the UN COP24 summit between countries with very different climate agendas. 

Experts cautiously welcomed a draft agreement that was finally released on Thursday night, but countries must now resolve outstanding issues, including pledges to ramp up emissions cuts. 

WIth Russia and Kuwait, these four leading oil producers blocked the full endorsement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s "Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. "The IPCC was invited to prepare this Special Report by the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December 2015," according to a June 2016 UNFCCC press release.

Nations are working in Katowice on the rulemaking needed to implement the 2015 Paris climate agreement effective 2020, including how to report emissions and how richer nations will help finance climate action in poorer nations.

Interesting audio reports with transcripts from NPR on the climate conference:

  • On Dec. 13, Audie Cornish reports on how the U.S. can advance climate negotiations under President Trump in a very informative discussion with Jonathan Pershing, former Special Envoy for Climate Change under President Obama and now the Program Director of Environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Yes, the U.S. did send an official delegation, even if they proved disruptive. Pershing explains the U.S. remains in the agreement "until the day after the next presidential election." He has some good things to report in spite of the U.S. withdrawal and the science controversy.

This is Peduto's third time attending an international climate meeting. He says Pittsburgh's history as a city built on coal and steel but now moving away from industry makes him a good representative to the meeting.

Under Peduto, Pittsburgh has pledged to transition its city government's energy use to entirely renewable sources by [2035], and decrease its overall energy use by half. [At least one local columnist writes, "Not gonna happen."

Successful summit if disagreements are resolved

Washington Post reporters Griff Witte and Brady Dennis also report from Katowice on the talks on Friday.

Laurence Tubiana, a French diplomat who presided over the 2015 Paris talks and is considered a key architect of the landmark agreement, said that if drafts of this year’s deal hold together, the summit will be judged a success.

The achievements of Katowice, she acknowledged, were highly technical in nature, with no new grand pronouncements. But that, she said, was not what was required. “Sometimes we want everything to be a big splash,” she said. “But that’s not reality.”

Full Story:
Published on Friday, December 14, 2018 in The Independent
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