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COP Summit reaches agreement on measures to enact Paris Climate Pact

Sun 16 December 2018 | Back to news list

International negotiators reached agreement on a common 'rulebook' for putting the 2015 Paris Agreement into practice. The Katowice Agreement aims to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature to a rise of well below 2°C. However, new figures show that global CO2 emissions are set to reach a new peak in 2018 as transport demand and coal use has grown.

The summit accord, which was reached by 196 states, outlines regulations that will govern the 'nuts and bolts' of how countries cut carbon, provide finance to poorer nations and ensure that the promises made are verified.

Tensions had emerged at the talks between Brazil and other countries over the rules for the monitoring of carbon credits and these discussions have now been deferred until 2019.

Laurence Tubiana, a key architect of the Paris agreement (now with the European Climate Foundation), reported by the BBC, said the agreement was a "big boost for the Paris pact".

"The key piece was having a good transparency system because it builds trust between countries and because we can measure what is being done and it is precise enough."

"I am happy with that. Nobody can say that's not clear, we don't know what to do, or that it's not true any more. It's very clear,"

She said that countries like Russia - which had refused to ratify the Paris agreement because it wasn't sure about the rules - could no longer use that excuse.

However, there was criticism from some observers that the deal is insufficiently strong to deal with the urgency of the climate problem.

There was serious doubt expressed by some delegates that the deal offers realistic hope of keeping the average global temperature increase below 1.5°C.

COP24's Polish President MichaƂ Kurtyka said: “We have been working on this package for three years. When we have to deal with positions of almost 200 Parties, it is not easy to find an agreement concerning a multi-aspect and technical deal.

"Under these circumstances, each step forward was a great achievement. And I thank you for that. We can be proud of ourselves.”

Many heads of state, government and almost 100 Ministers of the Environment and of Foreign Affairs from all over the world were present at the Katowice talks. 

Despite the international efforts at Katowice and before, global CO2 emissions have yet to peak. The latest report from the Global Carbon Project forecasts that emissions in 2018 will rise by 2.7%, up sharply from a plateau in 2014-16

The rise is due to the growing number of cars on the roads and a renaissance of coal use. According to a report in The Guardian, it means that the world remains "on the track to catastrophic global warming". However, the report’s authors suggested that the emissions trend can still be turned around by 2020, if cuts are made in transport, industry and farming emissions.

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