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And many leaders among in the international community are in trouble: the USA has officially withdrawn from the Paris Agreement; former frontrunners within the EU, such as Germany, France or the United Kingdom, are fighting on various domestic political fronts.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.
What outcomes do the agreements achieved at COP24 hold for cities and regions? Despite the decisive part the so-called non-state actors play in achieving the international climate goals, their role hasn't been formally recognized by the UNFCCC.
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, concluded in October 2016, has entered into force on January 1st, 2019. Its 65 signatories are now on the fast track to significantly reducing the use of harmful greenhouse gases in the production of cooling devices, representing a major step towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. After a season of unsatisfying climate negotiations, the amendment's implementation marks a time of action and reminds the international community why climate diplomacy ultimately pays off.
In many ongoing armed conflicts, water has been used as a weapon of war, but it can also be a strong instrument of peace.
Climate adaptation has been praised for its potential for contributing to peace. It is highlighted for the potential to remake systems and equip the world to better cope with the impacts of climate change. However, these remain hopeful claims until rigorous research is done on how this might take place and what type of peace we might expect to result from the implementation of climate adaptation.