15 december 2018

[4C Note: This posting contains the summary statements on the UN climate summit at Katowice by the following organizations;
1. CAN-Europe
2. Greenpeace
3. Sierra Club
4. Oxfam
5. Union of Concerned Scientists
6. Care
7 World Resources Institute
8. Environmental Defense Fund
9. Center for International Environmental Law
10.Center for Science and Environment (India)

1 CAN Europe press release

COP24 outcome misses urgency of climate breakdown

Category: Press Releases

Published: 15 December 2018

As the COP24 climate summit comes to an end, it is clear that governments have failed to adequately respond to the catastrophic impacts of climate change that were highlighted in the landmark IPCC report on 1.5°C. Based on a now widely operational Paris Agreement the next two years need to be used to build far-reaching transformational partnerships and reach the level of ambition science makes clear is necessary.

COP24 failed to deliver a clear commitment to strengthen all countries’ climate pledges by 2020. At the same time, a relatively effective though incomplete rulebook for how to implement the Paris Agreement was finalised. Limited progress was also made with regard to how financial support for poorer countries coping with devastating climate impacts will be provided and accounted for.

The EU has made welcome efforts by building alliances with other countries and finding common ground on sticking points. It has also set a good example when, together with several other members of the High Ambition Coalition, it committed to increase its 2030 climate target by 2020, in light of the warnings of the IPCC report. However, it has failed to convince all other governments to make the same commitment. Germany doubled their support for the Green Climate Fund to support developing countries, but other European countries still have to do the same.

In reaction to the COP24 outcomes, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“The weak outcome of this COP runs contrary to stark warnings of the IPCC report and growing demand for action from citizens. Governments have again delayed adequate action to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. The EU needs to push ahead and lead by example, by providing more support to poor countries and increasing its climate pledge before the UN Secretary General Summit in September 2019. It must be a significant increase, even beyond the 55% reduction some Member States and the European Parliament are calling for.”



Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Head of Communications, ania@caneurope.org, +32 494 525 738

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 150 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 40 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe

CAN Europe members made the following statements wrapping up COP23:

Jennifer Tollmann, Climate Diplomacy Researcher, E3G
said: “In the end the EU did finally step up as a bridge-builder. But we now need to see whether they can ace the real test. Will they pull their weight in closing the global emissions gap and support their climate vulnerable allies to weather the storm?”

Mattias Söderberg, Climate Advisor, DanChurchAid said: “Poor and vulnerable countries are left behind with the agreement from Katowice. People who face loss and damage due to droughts, flooding and devastating storms are not acknowledged. This puts more burden on those living in poverty who are affected by the worst impacts of climate change, and who in most cases have very few emissions themselves.”

Christoph Bals, Policy Director of Germanwatch
said: “It’s very clear that the world expects the EU to lead in climate politics. In the end we have seen some attempts of EU countries to play a constructive role in the high ambition coalition. But only far reaching transformational partnerships between EU members and other countries can develop the necessary geopolitical dynamics for transformation.”

Neil Makaroff, European Policy Officer of Reseau Action Climat France said: “The COP24 climate negotiations should be a wakeup call for EU countries: there is no time to waste in childish divisions. The IPCC report clearly highlighted that our home is burning and we have a limited time to save it. Governments should be united in engaging Europe in a more ambitious climate policy, both boosting the energy transition and ensuring that it is socially just, benefiting to all. Europeans have this special responsibility to pave the way and lead climate actions by example.”

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change, CARE International said: “At COP24, a number of powerful countries driven by short-sighted interests pushed to abolish the ambitious 1.5°C limit and throw away the alarming findings on harmful climate impacts of the IPCC Special Report. The most vulnerable countries, civil society and people on the ground have been leading the fight for climate justice. While governments accomplished the task of adopting a rulebook to further the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the world now requires much faster and stronger climate action at the national level, and support for poor countries to build climate resilience.”

Sebastian Scholz, Head of Climate Policy, NABU/BirdLife Germany said: “Again at this COP civil society made their demand clear to those decide to stay within the limit of 1.5 degrees of global warming. None the less several issues weren't solved by the delegations. Even the alarming findings of the IPCC Special Report weren't properly integrated into the outcome. The EU had a rather weak position on closing loopholes in the accounting guidelines of the rulebook. This won't help to limit emissions, but also incentivise the use of non sustainable biomass for energy supply, and therefore risks a further loss of biodiversity.”

Karin Lexén, Secretary General of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
said: “Two months ago, the scientific community sent an emergency message on the state of the climate crisis. Coming to Katowice, we demanded no less than an emergency response. This was not delivered. Now all countries must urgently pick up the baton, do their homework and get ready to radically scale up climate action at home. In Sweden, we demand a ban on fossil fuels by 2030.”

Otto Bruun, Climate Policy Officer, Finnish Association for Nature Conservation said: “Climate scientists have highlighted a safe option to avert climate chaos. Early retirement of fossil fuels should go hand in hand with the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems. While the governments at the Katowice conference did not produce the rulebook to match the ambition of the Paris treaty, governments must now mind the gap in ambition and increase their efforts at once. The April 2019 general election in Finland looks set be a climate election. Our collective ambition in civil society is to drive through an unforeseen and just policy shift to immediately protect and restore forest and peatland carbon sinks while retiring all fossil fuels altogether within two decades."


2. From Greenpeace:

COP24 ends without firm promises to raise climate action and ambition

by Greenpeace International, 15 December 2018

Katowice, Poland – Just two months after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned we have 12 years left to save the world, COP24 ended with no clear promise of enhanced climate action.

COP24 led to an approved Paris Agreement rulebook, but no clear, collective commitment to enhance climate action targets – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – was reached despite expectations that Katowice would deliver step-change.

Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said:

“A year of climate disasters and a dire warning from the world’s top scientists should have led to so much more. Instead, governments let people down again as they ignored the science and the plight of the vulnerable. Recognising the urgency of raised ambition and adopting a set of rules for climate action is not nearly enough when whole nations face extinction.

“Without immediate action, even the strongest rules will not get us anywhere. People expected action and that is what governments did not deliver. This is morally unacceptable and they must now carry with them the outrage of people and come to the UN Secretary General’s summit in 2019 with higher climate action targets.”

Greenpeace urges governments to ramp up action immediately and prove they have heard the demands of people. The IPCC report should be the call to action – action that matches the pace and scale of the threat.

“We continue to witness an irresponsible divide between the vulnerable island states and impoverished countries pitted against those who would block climate action or who are immorally failing to act fast enough. People are fed up, outraged at these injustices and are taking action to defend their homes and children and pushing their leaders to act. These people are the hope of our generation and governments must finally stand with them and give us all reasons for hope,” Morgan added.

Greenpeace East Asia Senior Global Policy Advisor Li Shuo said:

“If Paris set the destination, the rulebook is the roadmap to get there. We’ve now got a solid rulebook with binding common rules to ensure that climate actions can be compared and the concerns of vulnerable countries taken into account. Completing the rulebook demonstrates the resolve of major emerging economies to do more. It also signals clear support for multilateralism and that rules are still possible despite turbulent geopolitics. These rules now provide a backbone to the Paris Agreement and must be strengthened in coming years.”

Greenpeace Poland campaigner Pawel Szypulski said:

“In Poland, there’s a clear rift between political elites who are guilty of a lack of ambition and are supporting the continued use of coal while people are calling for strong climate action. Two out of three Poles support a coal phase-out by 2030. The science is clear, we’ve got 12 years left and the technical means to avoid catastrophe. Now politicians need to listen and act.”



Aaron Gray-Block, Greenpeace International: aaron.gray-block@greenpeace.org, +61 437 845 150

Maria Elena De Matteo, Global Communications Strategist, Greenpeace East Asia: mariaelena.dematteo@greenpeace.org, +39 351 81 98 110

Greenpeace International Press Desk: pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)


3. From the Sierra Club:

Sierra Club Statement On The Conclusion Of The COP24 UN Climate Negotiations, Saturday, December 15, 2018


Cindy Carr, cindy.carr@sierraclub.org

KATOWICE, POLAND -- Today, the 24th annual UN Climate Negotiations (COP24) concluded. During the talks, countries met to hash out the details of the Paris Agreement rulebook, which will provide guidance for the implementation of the landmark climate deal.

To date, Donald Trump is still the only world leader to announce his intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement, which entered into force on November 4, 2016, has been signed by every nation on earth. The earliest Trump will be able to complete his withdrawal from the deal is November 4, 2020, one day after the next U.S. Presidential election.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“There’s simply no debate; fossil fuels have no place in a liveable future. While Donald Trump may seek to further isolate the U.S. on the world stage, leaders from across the globe continue to work together to tackle the climate crisis. At a time when science makes it clear that we have only 12 years to deeply cut carbon pollution to avoid climate chaos, the climate negotiations have continued to bring the world together to move towards a sustainable climate and healthy communities.

“Following yet another year of devastating and historic hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and droughts, it has been the unstoppable power of people that has continued to drive climate progress, from retiring more than half of the U.S. coal fleet to moving cities to 100 percent clean energy. The American people are joined by the rest of the world in signaling that they will not tolerate any more of Trump’s shameful blustering and inaction, and they have taken up the mantle of climate action while Trump abdicates any semblance of global leadership. The Sierra Club is proud to continue to join with allies in the movement driving that progress and ensure the transition to clean energy leaves no one behind.”


Despite the Trump administration’s inaction on climate, progress has continued to march on in the halls of the COP24 climate negotiations and beyond. Here’s a short recap of some of the progress the world made over the past two weeks that you may have missed:

Over 300 elected officials from 40 U.S. states released a letter calling for a Green New Deal and an end to fossil fuel use.

Cincinnati, Ohio became the United States’ 100th city to transition to 100 percent clean energy. The current total for cities committed to 100 percent clean energy is up to 102, meaning over 15 percent of the U.S. population now lives in an area that is Ready For 100.

1,000 groups announce that they’re divesting $8 trillion in assets out of fossil fuels.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee introduced a new bill to transition the state to 100 percent clean energy by 2035.

Colorado’s Xcel Energy announced ambitious plans to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that he’s moving up the timeline for the city to become carbon neutral to 2030.

Canada announced that they will have a more ambitious climate pledge by 2020.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.


4. From Oxfam:

Rich nations put to shame by those worst hit by climate change

Bold attempts to prevent climate change forcing millions more people into poverty have been undermined by wealthier nations at the 24th UN Climate Change Conference, Oxfam said today.

At the talks, which stalled for days in Poland, leaders from nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis and young climate activists made strong demands for all states to immediately strengthen commitments to the Paris Agreement. But a woeful lack of courage by rich nations with the highest carbon emissions meant the outcome failed to match the urgency of these demands.

Simon Bradshaw, Climate Change Advisor for Oxfam Australia said: “The leadership vacuum from those with the responsibility and power to prevent suffering from climate change on a terrifying scale is shameful. We are standing with leaders from the Pacific and other vulnerable regions, communities taking their survival into their own hands, children who will have to inherit this increasingly hostile planet, and all those leading the fight for climate justice.”

The shocking findings of the recent IPCC report laid bare how global warming above 1.5°C will be extremely dangerous to us all, but would mean life or death for many of the world’s poorest people. Limiting warming to 1.5°C means up to 420 million fewer people exposed to extreme heat waves, up to 39 per cent fewer people suffering from drought, up to 457 million fewer people forced to live in poverty.

“We needed giant strides towards limiting the impact of global warming this week, but what we got was more baby steps. It is way past time that countries who have the greatest responsibility for global warming stepped up to the plate,” Bradshaw added.

In one positive move forwards, governments agreed to a landmark set of recommendations to ensure rights and solutions for people displaced - or at risk of being displaced - due to climate change. But despite this, without far stronger efforts to drive down emissions, tens or hundreds of millions more people face being forced from their land and homes.

Agreements to include the loss and damage caused by climate change as part of the five-yearly global stocktake of progress, a key part of the Paris Agreement, were made. But the summit outcome failed to include concrete commitments to raise the billions of dollars of additional funding needed to cover the costs of these losses - a matter of critical importance to vulnerable communities around the world.

Weak agreements on how funding to support climate action in developing countries should be accounted for means donors can continue to report loans at face value and burden vulnerable countries with debts. Overall, the outcome on climate finance gives little confidence that additional and adequate support is going to reach those who need it most.

“Enough is enough - if we are to continue to have hope that this negotiation process can deliver the change needed to save millions of lives then governments need to return home, from Poland, follow the lead of the world’s most vulnerable nations, and immediately begin strengthening their commitments. No more talking, no more delays - every month wasted is risking increasing dangers and hardships for communities around the world,” said Bradshaw.
Contact information:

Kate Wiggans +44 7890131322

Simon Bradshaw +61 404 859 806

Follow us @Oxfam

5. From The Union of Concerned Scientists

World Leaders Agree to Common Paris Rulebook, Must Respond to Scientists’ Clarion Call for Greater Climate Ambition

Statements by Alden Meyer and Rachel Cleetus
. December 15, 2018

KATOWICE, POLAND (December 15, 2018)—The United Nations’ annual climate talks, this year known as COP24, aimed at accomplishing three main things: agreeing on a robust rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement, acknowledging the need for nations to raise ambition of their emission reduction pledges by 2020, and reaffirm and enhance countries’ climate finance commitments and increase predictability of those commitments.

Below is a statement by Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and one of the foremost experts on the UN climate change negotiations on the outcome of the talks.

“In Katowice, ministers and negotiators adopted a common rulebook on how countries will formulate and report on their national emissions reduction pledges and move forward on adaptation, technology, finance and other important provisions of the Paris Agreement. While some rulebook elements still need to be fleshed out, the agreement lays a solid foundation for implementation and strengthening of the historic accord reached in Paris three years ago. It could also help facilitate U.S. re-entry into the Paris Agreement by a future presidential administration.

“The recent IPCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees represents a wake-up call from the world’s top scientists, making clear that we face a planetary emergency unless we take profound and rapid action to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. While the United States and three other major oil-producing countries prevented the urgency of action from being fully reflected in the final decision, the vast majority of countries indicated they have heard the dire warning from scientists.

“World leaders must come to next September’s climate summit in New York being organized by UN Secretary-General António Guterres with a clear indication of how they intend to substantially raise their climate ambition by 2020. This will be the acid test of how serious they are in their professed commitment to averting a climate catastrophe.

“President Trump continues to question the consensus of the world’s scientists on the urgent need for climate action, and is taking a wrecking ball to federal clean energy policies. In sharp contrast, we were inspired by the presence in Katowice of U.S. state officials, mayors, businesses, indigenous leaders, religious community members, youth activists and others who support bold climate action; they represent the true face of America on climate change. In the wake of recent hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other climate-related extreme weather events, a clear majority of Americans support a rapid transition away from fossil fuels towards a clean, renewable energy future, as is needed to avert even worse and more costly climate impacts.”

Below is a statement by Rachel Cleetus, policy director in the Climate and Energy Program and lead economist at UCS.

“In Katowice, world leaders failed to adequately address the needs of people suffering from climate change right now, including small island nations and even some U.S. communities who face existential threats. The latest IPCC report confirms that climate change is here and now, impacts are only going to get worse, and current national commitments are nowhere near what is needed to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees, as countries agreed to in Paris.

“Despite this ever-present crisis, global warming emissions have risen for the second year in a row and nations continue to rely heavily on and even promote fossil fuels. There was clear recognition in Katowice that the world needs to get on a low-carbon pathway as soon as possible to meet the steep, near-term emission cuts the IPCC report indicated are needed by 2030.

“Once again, developed countries failed to provide assurances that they would make sufficient, predictable funding available for least developed nations to help them cope with climate impacts, including the loss and damage they already face, as well as ramp up low-carbon technologies.

“The barely adequate outcome in Katowice means there’s much work ahead to ensure countries live up to their responsibilities to put more ambitious action on the table by 2020. Every fraction of a degree avoided matters. Children around the world, including those who inspired us by their climate strikes this week, will hold countries accountable to do their homework and come prepared to ace the exam on robust climate action.”


The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.


6. From CARE:


Big polluters fall short at COP24 despite leadership of the most vulnerable

Outcome not enough to address climate emergency, governments must now step up nationally

Katowice, 15 December. On Saturday evening, the UN climate change talks concluded in Katowice, Poland after much debate. At the start of COP24, CARE reminded parties that equity must be upheld in climate action. Our appeals were heard by some, but a contingent of countries punched below their weight. At COP24, countries adopted a set of decisions which include a rulebook to guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement, financial support to developing countries and conclusions on further work to reduce emissions necessitated by the findings of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special report on 1.5°C. While the outcome matches procedural expectations towards the conference, it is still inadequate to tackle the climate emergency.

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change, CARE International, said: “At COP24, a number of powerful countries, driven by short-sighted interests, pushed to abolish the ambitious 1.5°C limit and throw away the alarming findings on harmful climate impacts of the IPCC Special Report. The most vulnerable countries, civil society and people on the ground have been leading the fight for climate justice. While governments accomplished the important task of adopting a rulebook to further the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the world now requires much faster and stronger climate action at the national level, and support for poor countries to build climate resilience.”

Vitumbiko Chinoko
, Partnerships and Advocacy Coordinator, CARE Southern Africa, said: “Vulnerable countries can not carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Multilateralism was held hostage at COP24 by a few powerful countries. It is unacceptable for governments to continue to cower behind the inaction of the United States and other big polluters. Countries that have been bystanders in this process must bear the weight of their decisions and acknowledge their failure to follow the lead of the most vulnerable.”

Fanny Petitbon, Advocacy Manager, CARE France, said: “At COP24, Parties failed to reaffirm their commitments in the Paris Rulebook to respect and protect human rights in climate action. Despite the IPCC report’s findings on the severity of current and future impacts of climate change, vulnerable countries had to fight hard to achieve a very basic inclusion of addressing loss and damage in the rulebook, and the rules on future climate finance allows developed countries to take advantage of significant loopholes. We urge governments not to backslide on their commitments to human rights, gender, and the financial support to people most impacted.”

In 2019, the UN Secretary General will convene a climate summit. Following on the insufficient outcome at COP24, CARE urges countries to go home and put their energy into revising their national climate plans by 2020 towards faster emission cuts. Merely attending the summit - as reflected in the COP24 decision - will notnot be enough. Governments then must come to the summit ready to commit to increased ambition and scale-up finance to support developing countries to adapt to climate impacts and build resilience.


7. From World lResources Institute

COP24 Climate Change Package Brings Paris Agreement to Life

by David Waskow David Waskow, Yamide Dagnet, Eliza Northrop and Joe Thwaites - December 21, 2018

After a rocky two weeks of climate talks in Katowice, Poland, countries agreed on the rules to bring the Paris Agreement to life. While countries left some notable gaps and unresolved issues, key points of agreement at COP24 were on regular communication, reporting, review and stock-taking of progress on curbing emissions, adapting to impacts, increasing and aligning investments, and considering loss and damage.

Countries also reaffirmed the timeline agreed in Paris for countries to submit national climate commitments (known in UN-speak as Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) by 2020. The September 2019 UN Climate Summit is now becoming a key focal moment for world leaders to step forward and present ambitious plans for their next NDCs.

The talks in Katowice failed to fully endorse the findings of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that highlighted the importance of keeping global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) over pre-industrial levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate. The endorsement was blocked by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait, all major oil producers.

Although the agreement at Katowice did not go far enough in explicitly calling on countries to come forward with scaled-up ambition based on the IPCC report, a group of developed and developing countries stated their intent to do so. The next step is for a wide range of countries to work on stepping up ambitious efforts at home to achieve a zero-carbon and climate-resilient future while seizing the tremendous economic and development opportunities that bold climate action can deliver.

Here is a deeper dive into the Katowice climate package announced at COP24, with details on progress made on the Paris Rulebook, climate ambition and climate finance, as well as an overview of major developments outside the negotiations.

Paris Rulebook: Laying the Foundation

One of the most critical tasks for countries at COP24 was to agree on the Rulebook that outlines how they plan, implement and review their climate actions to fulfill the promise of the Paris Agreement. In fact, the Katowice meeting was the deadline countries set to finish this important task. The two weeks at COP24 concluded in an overtime session late on December 15, after three years of intensive negotiations toward this goal. While not perfect, the Rulebook provides an important foundation for countries to move forward and operationalize the Paris Agreement.

Countries agreed to provide more detail when they submit future NDCs, supported by accounting guidance to assess progress and achievement. The required information on NDCs is not as comprehensive as it could be, and the accounting guidance is not quite detailed enough to prevent countries from some cooking of the books. However, it is an important improvement over the current situation, in which too little information was provided about NDCs and, before the Paris Agreement, there was no accounting guidance applicable to all countries. Countries also agreed on the type of information necessary to provide clarity on their efforts to adapt to climate change, should they wish to include it in their NDCs.

Countries significantly stepped up their game under the enhanced transparency framework of action and support by agreeing on improved, more detailed guidance and more specifically, to a common set of guidelines for reporting and reviewing their progress every two years. This is a significant shift from the current approach where there are different requirements for developed and developing countries. All countries agreed to use the latest IPCC methodologies to estimate greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries with less capacity to gather this data can explain their constraints and develop an improvement plan to overcome their gaps and provide enhanced data in subsequent reports. For the first time, countries will be able to include in their transparency report not only progress made to adapt to climate change, but also how they tackled loss and damage.

Accountability under the Paris Agreement is also strengthened through a mechanism to facilitate implementation and promote compliance. If a country hasn’t communicated an NDC or a national report, the expert committee established under that mechanism can assist the country. In addition, that expert committee can identify systemic issues faced by a broad set of countries.

Countries also agreed on the rules for a global stocktake every five years, during which countries will assess collective progress toward the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals in a comprehensive and participatory manner. The first global stocktake will take place in 2023. It will look at collective efforts made to reduce emissions, adapt to climate change and build resilience, support implementation and align financial flows with the Paris goals, and also examine how to address and minimize loss and damage from the impacts of climate change and the unintended consequences of mitigation action. This collective assessment will involve participation by non-state actors, but with less access to the process than was the case during the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue.

None of the rules mentioned above would have been adopted without strong provisions on support, including finance, technology transfer and capacity building. In addition to the decisions on finance described below, it is also worth highlighting the importance of capacity building to facilitate the preparation, communication, reporting and implementation of climate action. Other positive steps were the operationalization of the Indigenous Peoples platform — the first of its kind in a multilateral setting — and the work program on gender.

There was no agreement on rules under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement regarding the use of carbon markets in an international context, nor on having common target dates for NDCs. Nevertheless, faced with the possibility of loopholes that would allow double counting, potentially undermining the integrity of the Paris Agreement and its overall ambition, it was preferable to postpone a decision on international carbon markets until next year.

Ambition: Countries Signal Commitment to Revise Plans

We came to Katowice with a clear message from science and high expectations from citizens: countries must enhance their level of ambition now to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. Bolstered by calls for greater ambition from the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the COP23 and COP24 presidencies’ Talanoa Call for Action, the High Ambition Coalition’s Stepping Up Climate Ambition declaration and numerous announcements by individual countries (including Costa Rica, the Maldives, Chile, Ukraine, Vietnam, Norway, Qatar, Lebanon, Barbados), the final COP24 decision text reaffirms the Paris Agreement’s 2020 deadline to submit NDCs. In the current political climate, even this was an important signal.

The decision text also said these revised NDCs should be informed by the inputs, outputs and outcomes of the Talanoa Dialogue, which brought together national governments, business, cities and states, and civil society to consider the urgency at hand and the increasing economic and technological opportunities for action. The COP24 outcome also called on all countries to develop and communicate long-term decarbonization strategies and asked developed countries to scale up support and means of implementation to enable all parties to realize enhanced ambition.
Finance: Increased Pledges, but Not Enough

Germany and Norway announced they would double their contributions to the Green Climate Fund, while the Adaptation Fund saw record annual pledges of $128 million. After three years of wrangling, negotiators agreed that the Adaptation Fund would serve the Paris Agreement from January 1, 2019.

Rules for reporting past support and communicating future financing were improved, with more detail requested. However, some important provisions remain optional and will require continued scrutiny to ensure countries report finance in a fair and robust way. Countries also agreed to consider future financing communications every two years through in-session workshops and high-level ministerial dialogues. The global stocktake includes an assessment of how all finance flows are being aligned with low-emissions and climate-resilient pathways. This is important because addressing climate change will require not only scaling up funding for climate solutions but also phasing out investments in high-emissions activities.

Countries committed to kick off a process in 2020 to set a new climate finance goal beyond the current target of $100 billion a year for the period after 2025. Negotiators also commissioned an assessment of developing country climate finance needs every four years, which could help inform the ambition of the 2025 goal. Greater financing will be needed to ensure developing countries can deploy climate solutions and adapt to the increasingly extreme impacts from a warming world. Next year will be a key moment for wealthy countries to demonstrate the global solidarity needed by coming forward with ambitious pledges for the Green Climate Fund’s first replenishment. More details are available here.


8. Environmental Defense Fund

UN climate negotiators secure important elements of the Paris rulebook but leave key markets text out

Statement from EDF Senior Vice President Nathaniel Keohane

(December 15, 2018) Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have agreed on most of the elements of the so-called “rulebook” that will guide implementation of the Paris Agreement, including the critical guidelines for regular and consistent reporting needed to ensure transparency in how much countries are emitting and their progress toward fulfilling their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). However, negotiators failed to reach closure on the part of the text addressing international cooperation on carbon markets. Instead, they agreed to continue work in 2019 on guidance under Article 6, which covers “cooperative approaches” including the transfer of emissions reductions, or “mitigation outcomes,” among countries - the building blocks of a future inteernational carbon market.

While negotiators had made significant progress in establishing sound accounting rules for bilateral transfers between countries (under paragraph 2 of Article 6), the talks broke down over Brazilian intransigence on the treatment of credits generated by a new “mechanism” under paragraph 4. Brazil refused to budge on its longstanding insistence that it be allowed to double-count such credits by applying them toward its own NDC while selling them to another country seeking to apply them toward that country’s NDC. Such a loophole would undermine the integrity of the mechanism and could potentially threaten the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

“In Katowice, countries made important progress toward realizing the promise of the Paris Agreement -- in particular by adopting strong rules requiring countries to transparently report their greenhouse gas emissions and progress toward meeting their national commitments. Those rules, known as the ‘transparency framework,’ are vital to the success of the Paris Agreement. To avoid dangerous warming, countries need to ratchet up their ambition dramatically, which will only happen if countries have clarity about what others are committing to, and confidence that they are meeting those commitments.

“By leaving Poland without clear rules on international cooperation under Article 6, however, negotiators missed a major opportunity to start creating a robust framework for flexible approaches such as carbon markets. While there was overwhelming support for common-sense accounting rules among countries, businesses, and NGOs, a handful of countries, led by Brazil, thwarted progress by insisting that they should be allowed to cheat the atmosphere - and theiir trading partners - by double-counting their carbon credits. Such a loophole would undermine the integrity of the carbon market and contradict the basic principle that each ton of emissions reductions should only be counted once.

“It is no surprise that markets have become the flash point in these talks, because they are the fulcrum for ambition going forward. International cooperation will be the engine of deeper emissions reductions, and Article 6.2, which recognizes that countries may cooperate through markets, is the unsung hero of the Paris Agreement. Analysis from Environmental Defense Fund shows that countries could nearly double their ambition through the use of well-designed carbon markets, relative to the targets that are currently on the table. The best way to realize the promise of markets would be clear rules under Article 6 that require comprehensive reporting of transfers and prevent double counting. Negotiators must do better next year.

While the failure to reach agreement in Katowice is a disappointment markets will move ahead in the more than 50 jurisdictions where they are already underway, including the European Union, California and nine other U.S. states and China, which is building the world’s largest carbon market. The Paris Agreement explicitly recognizes that countries can pursue international cooperation on carbon markets on their own, regardless of whether or not the UN provides guidance. Countries interested in carbon markets are actively discussing the prospect of creating coalitions, or ‘clubs,’ to agree on harmonized rules for high-integrity carbon markets. EDF will continue to work with all interested countries to ensure that carbon markets and international trading of emissions reductions maintain sound accounting and environmental integrity.”

Nathaniel Keohane, Environmental Defense Fund
Additional observations from Nathaniel Keohane about COP 24:

U.S. role: “The US tried, again, to celebrate the coal industry while touting emissions reductions actually achieved by the Obama administration. COP 24 attendees were not fooled. The Trump administration has tried to eliminate the policies that have driven emissions reductions in the US. They, and the coal industry, need to be held accountable.”
Transparency and accounting: “Parties at the COP agreed to a common transparency framework that ensures robust accounting and provides flexibility for countries to report their emissions. This strikes the right balance of rigor and flexibility, which is the critical task for transparency. It is a vital step forward in realizing the promise of the Paris accord.”

China: “Prior to the start of the negotiations more than two weeks ago, many asked which China would show up. Fortunately, China engaged constructively with the U.S. to preserve a single transparency framework and resist backsliding into bifurcation

� the tired debate tthat different transparency rules apply to developed vs developing nations”

Talanoa Dialogue/1.5 degrees: “The US’s unwillingness to acknowledge the dire findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on the impacts of global warming above 1.5 °C was just another stunt by the Trump administration that threatens to distract us from what the focus of these negotiations and the focus of the world’s efforts should be: reducing the pollution that threatens our planet. The IPCC report has rightly lit a fire under the world’s sense of urgency. Whether the COP ‘notes’ or ‘welcomes’ it doesn’t affect the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by one ton.”

9. From Center for International Environmental Law:

Katowice COP24 Outcome Incompatible with Paris Agreement

Ambition, Equity, and Human Rights Left Behind in Poland Climate Talks

December 15, 2018

Katowice, Poland—As parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change wrapped up two weeks of negotiations in Katowice, Poland, the halls of the Spodek Center echoed with the rising voices of young people, indigenous groups, vulnerable communities, and people of all nations who demanded that negotiators deliver on the promises made three years ago in the Paris Agreement.

In October, a long-awaited IPCC report exposed the urgency and necessity to limit global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius and warned of the dire consequences for human rights, human lives, and the global environment if we fail to do so. In Katowice, Parties arrived with a clear mandate: translate the IPCC’s findings into a commitment to raise ambition; deliver a climate action package commensurate with the level of ambition and committed resources required to reach this goal; and adopt a rulebook to guide how it happens.

“We are deeply disappointed with the outcome of these negotiations,” said Erika Lennon, CIEL Senior Attorney. “Simply put, the outcome of COP24 is not compatible with the Paris Agreement, which promised to protect, respect, and consider human rights in climate action. In the final hours of negotiations, the only reference to human rights disappeared from the text when Parties punted a decision on carbon markets for another year.1 The rulebook gavelled in at the Spodek Center in Katowice offers too little people-centered, rights-based guidance for countries to jointly deliver on the Paris promises, conditions that the IPCC recognizes as necessary to keep global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius. As delegates return home and countries work toward increasing ambition and enhancing national climate commitments, they must also remember that they are already bound by international agreements to respect human rights, and that these must drive how they implement necessary climate action and ensure equity.”

“The IPCC report made clear that respect for human rights and robust public participation are a prerequisite for effective climate action,” said Sébastien Duyck, CIEL Senior Attorney. “Not only have countries largely failed to adopt these recommendations in Katowice, but the COP itself casts a long shadow on the role and value of stakeholder engagement in UN climate processes. Poland’s overt exclusion of and attacks against civil society participants at the COP sends a chilling message about the direction of human rights protections at the UNFCCC. We look to Chile, a country that championed the adoption of the Escazú Agreement, the regional agreement on environmental democracy, to facilitate this process in a truly participatory manner going forward.”

“The failures here won’t stop the climate crisis, but nor will they stop people worldwide from taking urgent action to confront climate change,” said Carroll Muffett, President of CIEL. “Where negotiators are failing, people are rising—in the streets, in the courtrooms, in boardrooms. People are fighting against rising climate chaos with every tool they can find. And the governments and corporations must now decide if they will take bold action on climate or accept responsibility for failing to do so.”


10. From Center for Science and Environment (India)

The Katowice collapse

December 16, 2018

A decision that wasn’t

Katowice fails. Its decision and the Paris Rulebook agreed here are un-ambitious, anti-science and dilute the Paris Agreement, says CSE

* The Paris Rulebook that was finalised at Katowice on Saturday dilutes the Paris Agreement, especially in terms of finance, loss and damage & differentiation
* Developed countries backtrack on their commitment to provide finance
* Loss and damage utterly neglected; vulnerable developing countries largely left on their own to address the impacts of climate change
* Katowice decision weak on ambition; no decision to raise ambition in light of IPCC’s 1.5oC report
* Big push for a weak carbon market; market mechanism emerges as main instrument for countries to meet climate targets
* UNFCCC now a venue for collecting and synthesizing information, facilitating discussions; most top-down elements of the Paris Agreement to increase ambition diluted

Katowice, Poland, December 16, 2018: “It is a weak Rulebook that we have got for implementation of the Paris Agreement. This Rulebook is completely insufficient to drive ambitious climate action:” said Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi (India)-based think tank which has been closely tracking the negotiations at the 24th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP).

The Katowice COP also failed to increase ambition of countries to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases as per the findings of the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5oC. The refusal of the CoP to take the IPCC report seriously undermines the Paris Agreement.

“The Katowice CoP will be remembered as an anti-science CoP for its failure to take into account the findings of the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5oC. It will also be remembered for coming out with a Rulebook that dilutes an already weak Paris Agreement, thereby undermining the global effort to combat climate change,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.

A weak Rulebook
Provision of finance by developed countries: In the Paris Agreement, developed countries had agreed to a financial commitment of US $100 billion each year by 2020. Currently, only around half of this commitment is being met. The Rulebook had to define what all will constitute ‘finance’, and how it will be reported and reviewed.

But at Katowice, rules on financial contributions by developed countries have been diluted. Firstly, developed countries have the choice to include all kinds of financial instruments, concessional and non-concessional loans, grants, aids etc, from various public and private sources, to meet their commitments. Secondly, the rules on ex-ante financial reporting and its review for adequacy has been significantly weakened. Put together, these two dilutions will make it very difficult to hold developed countries accountable.

“Developed countries now have the freedom to decide the amount and the kind of financial resources they want to give to the developing countries and do this without any strong mechanism of accountability. The idea of ‘new and additional’ financial support from developed to the developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change is now a mirage”, says Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Loss and damage: Loss and damage has largely been excluded from the Paris Rulebook. It is conspicuously missing from the section on finance. The Warsaw International Mechanism, which has to deal with averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, has no financial resources to support vulnerable countries. “With no financial provisions, it clear that the countries are now left on their own to address the impacts of climate change,” said Vijeta Rattani, Programme Manager, Climate Change, CSE.

Global stocktake: Global stocktake (GST) was one of the top-down elements in the Paris Agreement to increase ambition of countries. It was supposed to measure global progress and identify the barriers to mitigation and adaptation, in light of equity and science. However, the GST Rulebook has been watered down into a non-policy prescriptive process. That is, this process will neither give any recommendation to individual countries or a group of countries, nor will it give any prescriptive policy to everyone. The result is that a lot of technical information will be collected without any clear recommendation to increase ambition on mitigation or finance.

“Under the Paris Agreement, GST was the main mechanism to raise ambition. With the nature of GST outcome being non-prescriptive in the Rulebook, the purpose of GST has now been largely watered down. Also, equity has been mentioned in the text, but there is no mechanism to operationalize it,” said Vijeta Rattani, Programme Manager, Climate Change, CSE.

Reporting and transparency: The Paris Agreement is built around countries reporting their progress on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Under the Rulebook, a detailed requirement has been set for reporting on mitigation, adaptation, impacts and finance. A certain flexibility has been provided to the developing countries, which have lower capacity to collect and analyse information, to provide less rigorous information. Developing countries will have to provide ‘self-determined’ timeframes for improving the quality and quantity of reporting.

It is to be noted that emerging economies like India had already informed that they would not need flexibility and would report in a manner similar to those followed by the developed countries.

Carbon market is the king: The Katowice CoP was extended for a day because countries had disagreements over the details of the carbon market mechanism. Market mechanism has emerged as the most important element of the Paris agreement.

Paris Agreement allows emissions trading markets between two or more countries (such as the EU Emissions Trading System), as well as a unified market for all countries (which succeeds the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism). It also provides for a non-market mechanism to reduce emissions and enhance sinks in forests and land. There has virtually been no progress made on non-market mechanisms, while the negotiations on market mechanisms is now mired in technicalities.

The Clean Development mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol had major problems, including cheap carbon credits, outsourcing of emission credits, corruption and non-additional projects, which subsequently left the overall emission reductions of the mechanism to doubt. Under the Paris Agreement, these drawbacks were to be removed so that real emissions reductions could be achieved. However, the rules made so far indicate that many of the problems of CDM like Overall Mitigation of Global Emissions, is likely to remain in the Paris rulebook as well. Also, the rulebook has different rules for different markets, which is non-transparent and makes emissions reductions unverifiable. Trading is allowed for sectors which are not covered in a country’s emissions targets, which will dilute the overall mitigation effect.

Currently, many technical issues of the market mechanism have been shifted to 2019. But, it is clear that under the Paris Agreement, carbon markets will be the main avenue through which countries are going to engage with each other.

Countries are on their own: The Paris Agreement had both bottom-up and top-down elements. Most of the top-down elements have been diluted in the rulebook. The Paris Agreement and its rulebook is now a totally ‘self-determined’ process.

“Countries are now on their own to mitigate, to adapt, and to pay the cost of climate impacts. The UNFCCC is now a platform to collect and synthesise information, and provide a forum to discuss and debate. It doesn’t have the tools to drive global collective action to combat climate change. In such a situation, one needs to seriously question the raison d'être of the UNFCCC,” concludes Chandra Bhushan.

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