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And many leaders among in the international community are in trouble: the USA has officially withdrawn from the Paris Agreement; former frontrunners within the EU, such as Germany, France or the United Kingdom, are fighting on various domestic political fronts.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.
Leaving No One Behind is the mantra of the 2019 UN-Water campaign. Foreign policy agendas of countries should apply the principle and integrate the voices of the most marginalised into the decision-making process, argues Dhanasree Jayaram.
Water is a matter of survival and plays a critical role in social, economic and environmental activities as well. With a rise in global demand for water, water crises have consistently featured among the World Economic Forum’s top global impact risks. Water insecurity, i.e., the lack of water availability for basic human needs and socio-economic development, undermines billions of livelihoods and poses significant risks for peace and prosperity by thwarting progress and fuelling displacement and conflict.
Limited access to energy is a significant barrier to development and holds back efforts to improve living conditions in developing and emerging economies. Around the world, 1.1 billion people still do not have access to electricity, and 2.8 billion still rely on animal and crop waste, wood, charcoal and other solid fuels to cook their food and heat their homes.
As the earth’s climate warms, people face mounting threats from rising seas, and more intense and frequent storms, heatwaves, fires, and droughts. When these events hit, people want to understand whether they are connected to climate change. Linking climate change with heatwaves, storms and other events can help us prepare for a changing world, argues Peter Stott.