Katowice

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”.

'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.

Polish Trade Union And Climate Science Denial Group Issue Statement Rejecting Scientific Consensus on Climate Change At COP24

Read time: 3 mins

A Polish trade union has issued a joint statement with a notorious American climate science denial group rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change.

The statement, signed by the Chicago-based Heartland Institute and the trade union Solidarity was released as UN climate talks took place in Katowice, the centre of Poland’s coal heartland region of Silesia.

The talks, known as COP24, are widely considered to be the most important climate meeting since the 2015 summit in Paris and will aim to finalise the rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement.

What You Need To Know About the UN Climate Talks in Poland

Read time: 16 mins
Globe tent at COP23 in Bonn

The UN's annual climate talks kick off next week in the southern Polish city of Katowice, in the country’s coal heartland. The stakes are high, but —  as always —  it won’t be plain sailing.

The two-week meeting will be another pivotal moment in the global climate negotiations and the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. Countries are expected to finalise the accord’s rulebook and start the process of a global stocktake to ramp up ambition to reduce emissions.

The talks are taking place against a backdrop of mounting urgency and expectations following a report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which warned that the world has 12 years to halve its carbon dioxide emissions if it is to keep warming to 1.5 degrees and avoid catastrophic climate change.

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 Police set to Ban Spontaneous Protests and Secretly Gather Personal Data at UN Climate Talks

Read time: 6 mins
Climate emergency sign

Participants of the next UN climate talks in Poland could be banned from taking part in spontaneous demonstrations and have their personal data collected, stored and used by Polish police without their consent if a draft piece of legislation becomes law. 

The proposed measures are going through Poland’s legislative process as the southern city of Katowice — located in the country’s coal heartland — prepares to host the annual UN climate talks this December. 

The draft bill, which sets out specific regulations for this year’s climate talks, known as COP24, was passed by the lower house of the Polish Parliament on 10 January. On Friday, the Senate passed the bill almost unanimously with only three MPs abstaining. 

The text provides a raft of initiatives to “ensure safety and public order”. This includes a ban on all spontaneous gatherings in Katowice between 26 November and 16 December, spanning the entire period of the annual UN climate talks. 

Subscribe to Katowice