Almost 200 states have agreed on measures to limit global warming in Katowice, Poland, after a two-week marathon of negotiations. The state representatives participating at the Conference of the Parties (COP24) agreed on a 156-page rulebook on Saturday night, listing measures and controls to limit the global rise in average temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius.
International climate policy has once again gotten away with it. With the conclusion of Katowice the implementation of the Paris Agreement can be continued and the long-prepared Rule Book has also been adopted.
But far-reaching announcements to increase the ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are still lacking. The members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) have a great piece of work in front of them to revive the spirit of cooperation of the Paris Agreement. The accounts in this regard will be settled at the United Nations Climate Summit scheduled for the 23 September 2019 in New York.
And many leaders among in the international community are in trouble: the USA has officially withdrawn from the Paris Agreement; former frontrunners within the EU, such as Germany, France or the United Kingdom, are fighting on various domestic political fronts. Major emerging economies such as China and India are not yet willing to fill this gap and to completely leave behind early fronts between industrialised and developing countries.
However, the 24th Climate Conference has also showcased encouraging dynamic climate policy development in numerous countries and at the subnational level. Local governments claim a leading role in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and will meet in Heidelberg in early summer to underpin this role.
In other words, Paris is effective in Katowice, Poland, even without symbolic successes in the negotiations.
Colombia’s long-standing internal conflict and the country’s contribution to climate change share one common root cause: land concentration. Policies to strengthen access to land and to ensure sustainable land use might therefore hold the key to promoting peacebuilding in Colombia, while simultaneously reducing emissions.
As disasters wreak havoc all over South Asia, health impacts have increasingly emerged as a major concern for communities and governments in the region. It underscores the need for concerted efforts towards building synergies between the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda particularly now, in the post-disaster reconstruction phase, to ensure “building back better” and future disaster prevention.
In the Inner Mongolian county of Horinger, Northwestern China, afforestation efforts have transformed a barren, dusty landscape into a pine forest. Planting trees has diminished the sandstorms, boosted biodiversity and improved the environment generally. As the climate emergency worsens, the potential for planted trees to draw carbon out of the atmosphere is being re-examined. What can the world learn from the Chinese experience with afforestation?
Two events in August 2019 underlined the complexity of paving the way to a climate-neutral world: the publishing of the new IPCC report and the Amazon fires. Both events demand that climate diplomats move beyond a narrowed focus on energy in decarbonisation debates.