climate COP 24

The Last Chance Rendezvous


COP 24 is being held from 2 December: What can we expect from it?

Three years after the success of the Paris COP 21 on climate change, the COP 24 will be held in Katowice, Poland, to specify the rules for implementing the Paris agreement. Since then, the climate situation and prospects have deteriorated in a worrying way, especially since several countries have decided to flout existing agreements. Lhe general international context is therefore not conducive to the next COP; so what can we expect from this new appointment?
An analysis of IDDRI by Lolla Vallejo, Director of the Climate Programme and David Levaï, International Climate Governance Coordinator.
Ahe 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place from 2 to 14 December in Katowice (Poland), is due to mark the culmination of two key processes provided for in the Paris Agreement: the adoption of the rules for implementing the agreement and an initial assessment of collective action (in the framework of the Talanoa Dialogue). What is the scope of these processes and what can we expect from this COP? 
The Paris Agreement not only sets a common objective for international climate action - to limit global warming to well below +2°C and to continue efforts to contain it to +1.5°C - but also organizes a political dynamic to gradually reduce the gap between the individual actions of States and the collective objective they have set themselves. This is based on two elements:
rules of procedure governing countries' individual commitments (Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs), in order to assess their scope and effectiveness while strengthening collective action, beyond the mere addition of these unilateral contributions. The progress that will take place in Katowice on the rulebook will have to be measured against this balance;
a five-year cyclical political process, around a central five-year meeting (global stocktake), aimed at drawing up a comprehensive assessment of climate action in order to maintain momentum. The outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue, to be held in Katowice, is a trial run, which will have to be assessed in terms of its capacity to generate this momentum by 2020, in response to the IPCC's call for urgent and in-depth action on all economic levers.

Defining the procedures and instruments of governance of the Paris Agreement

The process of developing the rulebook has been the subject, since COP22 in Marrakech, long and complex negotiations, with a difficulty in deciding between technical options, in reality illustrating political debates aimed at developing governance instruments that are faithful to the "spirit" of the Paris Agreement.
What do these operating rules cover? On the one hand, the definition of the information that countries will provide in order to clarify their climate actions, relating to both mitigation and adaptation, and their contribution to the international solidarity effort, in particular the financial means to ensure transparency and comparability of national efforts, a prerequisite for collective confidence. On the other hand, these rules aim to organize voluntary cooperation mechanisms for mitigation and the consequences of non-compliance. To make the Paris Agreement truly effective, these rules will have to be as clear and precise as possible. On the eve of Katowice, however, the basis for negotiation is still close to being established. of 230 pages !
Of all these elements, the three key points that will be discussed during COP24 are:
- the definition of the framework for transparency of action and support, so that it applies to all while taking into account the capacities of each, without however legitimising differential treatment between developed and developing countries ;
- finance, where, beyond the counting and reporting of flows, discussions focus on the amount of flows granted, their predictability, the negotiation of post-2025 amounts, etc...;
- carbon cooperation mechanisms, allowing a country to offset its emissions by buying credits from another country; the risk being that these avoided emissions are counted twice, thus forming a "carbon leakage".

Boosting the political process for more ambitious climate action

The first political stocktaking of global mitigation efforts (known as the Talanoa Dialogue) is concluded at COP24 under the two successive COP23 and 24 Presidencies, Fiji and Poland. At a closing ministerial dialogue, governments will be asked to take stock of the technical contributions submitted over the past year [1]. On this basis, a two-year political phase could begin in order to set in motion the domestic dynamics necessary for a majority of countries to raise their national ambition, in accordance with the ambition mechanism contained in the Paris Agreement. [2]
However, at least two important warning signals are thwarting the effective achievement of this political momentum following this assessment: firstly, the lack of involvement of the Polish Presidency, which does not make climate ambition a priority of this COP since, at the same time, it is actively arguing against raising Europe's ambition; secondly, the lack of solid international leadership capable of responding to people's expectations through a reaction that matches the main contribution to this dialogue, the IPCC Special Report on a global warming of 1.5°C.
So far, no country has sent a clear signal that its contribution should be revised. The European Union seemed to be leading the way by adopting new renewable energy and energy efficiency targets for 2030, which should mechanically lead to a more ambitious NDC. However, discussions in the Council (-40% in 2030) did not succeed, despite proposals from the Commission (-45%) and the Parliament (-55%), blocked in particular by the German opposition (on the grounds that current commitments are not being met) and the Polish opposition (on the grounds that going too fast and alone is to the detriment of the most vulnerable). Unblocking the European position will be essential in order to set in motion an international dynamic, given the backward positions of several states, such as the United States, Australia and Brazil (which is expected to preside over COP25).
As several times in the past, at this COP, special attention will be paid to the issue of climate financing. Indeed, developing countries will not only want to ensure that the financial flows they receive in order to gradually transform development patterns grow in a way that is compatible with the objective set by developed countries in Copenhagen of mobilizing 100 billion dollars per year, but they will also be waiting for very clear signals as to the continuation and increase of these flows.
After a year in which the effects of climate change were felt more strongly, and in which non-governmental actors such as companies, cities or territories, have been at the forefront of climate actionThanks in particular to the California Summit, COP24 is an opportunity for the States to take account of this dynamic and to build on this basis a momentum towards an increase in collective ambition before the 2020 deadline. Katowice must be the starting point for this momentum. Several crucial milestones will then set the pace for international climate action in 2019. This is particularly the case for the United Nations Secretary General's Climate Summit in September 2019, preceded in particular by the G7 chaired by France, which will notably focus on climate finance.
Source :  IDDRi blog 20/11/2018
1] IDDRI participated in the Talanoa dialogue on 6 May 2018 in the framework of round tables bringing together States and non-State actors.

Header photo : Pixabay

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