UN climate talks

COP24: Paris Agreement Rulebook 'Does Not Deliver What The World Needs'

Read time: 8 mins

Following two tension-filled weeks at the UN climate talks in Poland, countries finally agreed on the operating manual to implement the Paris Agreement. While this rulebook is essential to kick-start the agreement in 2020, campaigners and scientists have warned of a stark disconnect between the urgency to prevent climate breakdown and the failed opportunity for radical action.

The rulebook covers a wide range of issues such as how countries should report their greenhouse gas emission reductions and who should pay what to help developing countries leapfrog fossil fuels and develop sustainably.

Given the elections of climate deniers Donald Trump in the US and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and strong obstruction from powerful oil and gas exporting countries such as the US and Saudi Arabia, the talks started in Katowice with low expectations.

Final Dispatch From COP24: What Just Happened?

Read time: 4 mins

For most of us, the UN climate talks — or COP24 — are drawing to a close and home is in sight.

That’s probably not the case for hundreds of negotiators who still have a lot to sort out before they can agree on the rules to implement the Paris Agreement, and are likely to work through the night and possibly beyond to do so.

After two weeks of protesting, lobbying, greenwashing, setbacks and admittedly important progress made on the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, the end of the conference offers a time to reflect.

I spent two weeks running around the long corridors of the climate conference in Katowice, Poland, striving to make sense of what this was all about.

Inside the Tent: Big Polluters Work to Shape Paris Agreement Rules at the UN Climate Talks

Read time: 8 mins
IETA at COP24

Should fossil fuel companies that knew their products contributed to climate change for nearly 40 years and did nothing about it now be allowed to have their say inside the UN climate talks?

For the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), a business lobby comprised of some of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers and greenhouse gas emitters such as BP, Chevron, Rio Tinto, Eni, Total and Shell, the answer is yes.

Fundamentally,” the IETA writes, “we believe that our businesses should be part of the climate negotiations — because we intend to be part of the solution”.

Countries that Blocked 'Welcoming' of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining

Read time: 3 mins
COP24 plenary

Dozens of delegates from four countries that forced the UN climate negotiations to weaken language around the acceptance of a major climate science report have ties to the oil, gas and mining industries.

At least 35 delegates from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the US are either currently employed or used to work for companies and organisations involved in the petrochemical and mining industries or lobbying on behalf of those industries.

On Saturday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “noted” the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark 1.5 degrees report at the annual talks in Katowice, Poland. Poor and undeveloped countries, small island states, Europeans and many others called to change the wording to “welcome” the study, Climate Home reported.

'Shame on You': Campaigners Disrupt US Fossil Fuel Event Attended by Climate Science Deniers

Read time: 7 mins

Campaigners disrupted a US event promoting “greener and cleaner” fossil fuel energy at the UN climate talks, calling it “a farce” that had no place within the global climate negotiations process.

Minutes after the start of the event on the fringe of the climate conference in Katowice, Poland, dozens of youth activists, indigenous campaigners, and community leaders burst out laughing and stood up in front of the panel chanting “keep it in the ground”.

A large banner with the message “keep it in the ground” was deployed in a way to hide the panel from the audience.

‘We Cannot Accept an Unjust Energy Transition’: Future of Coal Communities Becomes Crucial Issue at Climate Talks

Read time: 8 mins
Katowice coal museum

For the first time, the future of coal workers and communities across the world has become one of the most pressing issues of the global climate negotiations — infusing a sense of social reality within what is otherwise a very technical and political process.

We have been waiting for this for 30 years,” said Brian Kohler sustainability director for IndustriALL, a union representing 50 million workers across 140 countries.

In the corridors of the UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, Kohler is “delighted” that the topic has found its way high on this year’s agenda. It couldn’t have come soon enough.

One of the first to have coined the term “just transition” in the 1990s, Kohler is well aware of challenges facing workers and communities relying on fossil fuels extraction for their livelihoods and the necessity to ensure the energy transition will leave no-one behind.

Heavy Police Presence Accompanies March for Climate at Katowice UN Talks

Read time: 5 mins
Riot police facing climate campaigner in Katowice

More than a thousand people marched amidst heavy police presence to demand negotiators and ministers attending the UN climate talks in the southern Polish city of Katowice take more ambitious action on climate change.

Campaigners and activists from around the world took part in the March for Climate, which marked the end of the first of two weeks of global climate negotiations in Katowice.

Protesters chanted “keep the coal in the hole”, urged negotiators to “wake-up”, and demanded “climate justice now” while waving colourful banners and flags. Some were also wearing pollution masks to highlight Katowice’s heavily polluted air due to local coal mining.

'Green is Great': Coal, Oil, and Greenwash at the UN Climate Talks

Read time: 5 mins
Coal soap at Katowice pavilion at COP24

We were told to meet by the glowing jellyfish. Pascoe Sabido was holding it aloft, its plastic tentacles tangling, as journalists and campaigners closed in around him. A campaigner for Corporate Europe Observatory, he had promised us a “Toxic Tour” of COP24, a chance to see the influence of energy companies lurking behind the green veneer of the countries gathered here to tackle climate change.

Except, in some cases, the veneer was wearing thin — or, in Poland’s case — had rubbed off entirely. The tour began next to the logos of the conference’s sponsors projected onto the wall. It’s currently advertising LOTOS Oil, a Polish company that operates mainly in Norway. Other sponsors include JSW, a coal company, and PZU, the largest insurer of the Polish coal industry.

Polish Government Issues Terrorism Alert in Katowice Days Before Start of UN Climate Talks

Read time: 5 mins
Polish police

The Polish government has implemented a terrorism alert in the province where the annual UN climate talks are about to start.

Climate campaigners are warning of a “tense atmosphere” in and around the city of Katowice in southern Poland, where the global climate negotiations, known as COP24, are due to kick off on Monday.

Katowice, a city of around 300,000 people — and the smallest city to host the UN climate talks yet — is about to welcome nearly 30,000 people for the climate conference, including heads of state, government representatives and UN officials.

Polish Coal Company Announced as First Sponsor of UN Climate Talks in Katowice

Read time: 4 mins
Bełchatów lignite coal mine, Poland

One of Poland’s leading coal companies has become the first official sponsor of the UN climate talks, which start in the southern city of Katowice next week.

Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa (JSW), a majority state-owned corporation and the European Union's largest producer of high-quality coking coal, has announced the partnership with COP24 in a statement on its website.

The Polish Environment minister later announced that several other coal-sector companies had been chosen to sponsor this year's climate talks. 

JSW said the partnership would guarantee “the company’s active participation in the event and the possibility of promoting pro-ecological changes in the mining sector”.

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