Looking back at COP24

Takeaways from the climate change talk


December 19, 2018

/ By / New Delhi

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15 December 2018, Poland, Katowice: Michal Kurtyka (M), President of the UN Climate Change Conference COP24, and other participants of the climate summit are pleased about the decision of the compromise at the world climate summit. The aim of the agreement is to limit global warming to well below two degrees. Photo: Monika Skolimowska/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images)

More than 150 representatives from climate movement across the globe gathered in Katowice

COP24 was the last chance to stave off climate disaster. At the end, a slow progression towards securing the future of earth is far lesser than what the climate justice activists had bargained for.

The global climate change summit, COP24, ended late on Saturday last, with the delegates from 193 nations managing to reach an agreement on monitoring the implementation of the commitments made by member states as part of the Paris Agreement. However, the rule book, as the set of policies for monitoring the implementation is called, is way short of the expectations of a vast majority of the delegates, notably those from the developing countries and that, too, mainly from the small island states, which are most at risk from the climate change-related catastrophes that have been occurring with greater frequency and higher ferocity across the world.

Delegates had been squabbling for the last fortnight, since the beginning of the conference on December 3, to reach a middle ground. More than 150 representatives from climate movement across globe gathered and staged a demonstration to beseech governments to ‘stand with people, not polluters’. Mohamed Nasheed, former President of Maldives, had delivered a message that island nations and least developed countries were ready to rebel against the failing negotiations.

 Greta Thunberg, the young climate change advocate


Swedish climate justice activist Greta Thunberg

On the last day of COP24, climate activists turned up at the venue to protest a ‘corporate-captured UN climate talk’. Dozens of youth activists, mostly local Polish schoolchildren called for a strike in solidarity with 15 year old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate advocate. Greta Thunberg was praised for her fiery speech on the inaction continued by the politicians. She unequivocally lashed out at the dignitaries present at the conference saying, “You are stealing our future. Our civilization is being sacrificed to the opportunity for a very small number of people to continue making enormous amount of money. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to your children.”

Just a day earlier, Nasheed had addressed the media conveying his discontent about the negotiations. He said, “We have called this press conference because we are deeply unhappy with the way talks are going. We have formed an emergency coalition to save the talks and to save the climate. He warned, “We are rebelling against extinction and if necessary, we will rebel against the talks.”

Beacon of Hope

COP24 President, Michal Kurtyka agreed on the last day of the conference that it was not easy to reach an all-approved agreement. Still, the 156 pages of agreement details a game plan to curb green house gas emission. United Nation is calling the rulebook as something that will foster an environment of collaboration among countries and build trust among countries. President Kurtyka said delegates should feel proud that they reached somewhere by the end of first cycle of Paris Agreement. Micheal Arias Canate, commissioner of EU’s Climate Action exclaimed his happiness on the deal saying, “We reached a compromise to cut emissions from cars (by 37.5 pc) and vans (by 31 pc) by 2030. With these ambition targets, Europe is once again showing how to turn the Paris Agreement into action.” On the other hand, Polish government made it clear that they are not giving up on coal. Business communities received the outcome of the conference with mixed reaction. Several NGOs fighting for climate justice said that COP24 ‘doesn’t do enough to secure climate justice’. Several stakeholders from different nations are also skeptical over the success of COp24.

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