Climate action groups slammed the outcome of the 24th annual Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland on Saturday, calling the agreement “barely adequate” as a plan to ensure that countries will follow through with their emissions reduction pledges. However, the final agreement left out directives on specific emissions reductions by 2030. While it calls on wealthier countries to clarify how they will provide aid to less well-off nations, many of which are on the front lines of the climate crisis, more in-depth talks about developing countries needs were put off until next year.
After two weeks of talks on how to implement the Paris climate agreement to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the diplomats only agreed how to standardise how countries measure their carbon emissions, saying that world leaders would be more aggressive in reaching their emissions targets in time for the next global summit next September.
Advocates for bold, concrete reforms and directives—outlined in the People’s Demands for Climate Justice—said the required sense of urgency for avoiding the climate catastrophe that the world’s top scientists warn could take hold by 2030, was missing from the deal.
“The weak outcome of this COP runs contrary to stark warnings of the IPCC report and growing demand for action from citizens,” said Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe. “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 percent reduction some Member States and the European Parliament are calling for.”
The inadequate agreement, said the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), was the result not of a lack of understanding at COP24, but a lack of political will.
“There was clear recognition in Katowice that the world needs to get on a low-carbon pathway as soon as possible to meet the steep, near-term emission cuts the IPCC report indicated are needed by 2030,” said Rachel Cleetus, an economist at UCS. “Once again, developed countries failed to provide assurances that they would make sufficient, predictable funding available for least developed nations to help them cope with climate impacts, including the loss and damage they already face, as well as ramp up low-carbon technologies.
“People expected action and that is what governments did not deliver. This is morally unacceptable.” —Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International “The barely adequate outcome in Katowice means there’s much work ahead to ensure countries live up to their
The summit was deeply flawed from the start, with climate action groups and young demonstrators slamming the United Nations for holding the annual climate talks in the center of Poland’s coal country and President Donald Trump for sending pro-fossil fuel representatives to speak for the U.S, the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon.