COP24 starts today, the IPCC has published new scientific evidence on the devastating impacts of climate change, the probability that those changes will be manageable are decreasing, and, once again, there is a stalemate in international climate negotiations. Time is running out fast - or more appropriately, as UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa stressed, time is a luxury we no longer have. So, actually the question is how soon is now?
Or, in other words, can we turn our attention during the climate conference more towards the approaches that the climate community is already delivering on today instead of getting lost in the details of the “Paris Rulebook”, which should be one of the major outcomes of the negotiations in Katowice?
No doubt, the rules to be agreed will be another milestone in the young history of the Paris Agreement, but it requires some fantasy to imagine how more than 300 pages of draft text can be transformed into a document to guide implementation. In the meantime, it may be worth watching out for some good news on the negotiations corridors in Poland about the ideas needed to flesh out the Paris architecture.
This is especially important looking to 2019 when countries need to come up with ambitious ideas for their updated emission reductions pledges to contribute to closing the emissions gap outlined by the just published UNEP report: “According to scenarios factoring in current policy and NDC’s, global emissions are not estimated to peak by 2030, let alone by 2020.” Another reason to point out that action now does really mean now - and not soon.
At the conclusion of the 50th Pacific Islands Forum, Pacific leaders issued a Forum Communiqué and the ‘Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now’ – the strongest collective statement the Forum has issued on climate change. Pacific leaders highlight the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, the SAMOA Pathway Review, and 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC as “global turning points to ensure meaningful, measurable and effective climate change action”.
If ratified, the Mercosur-EU trade deal may reinforce the parties’ commitment to climate action. Yet, its potential relevance is weakened by a language that often stops short of concrete commitments, as well as by political resistance.
Iraq is on the verge of an environmental breakdown, and climate change is not helping. The country's fragile environment and the increasing scarcity of natural resources — particularly water — are a result of poor environmental management, as well as several political and historical factors. However, as climate change impacts add to the existing pressures, the environmental collapse turns into a security issue.
The severity of desertification and its mutual relationship with climate change cannot be overstated. In light of the recent launch of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Robert McSweeney from Carbon Brief explains what desertification is, what role climate change plays, and what impact it has across the world.