United Nations climate talks agree on reporting emissions

The Paris Agreement aims to keep the global temperature from increasing above two degrees

COP24 president Michal Kurtyka jumps at the end of the final session of the COP24 summit on climate change in Katowice, southern Poland, on December 15, 2018.

The rules will govern the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which becomes operational in 2020, and aims to limit global temperature rises to below two degrees.

But environmental groups said the package agreed in the Polish mining city of Katowice lacked the bold ambition needed to protect states already dealing with devastating floods, droughts and extreme weather made worse by climate change.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw, who was co-facilitating some of the talks, told reporters this morning that the newly agreed rulebook was "a breakthrough". She argued all countries should immediately produce new emissions targets that are consistent with the 1.5 C goal.

The final text omitted a previous reference to specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and merely welcomed the "timely completion" of the IPCC report, not its conclusions. Among these issues is how to create a functioning carbon credit market.

When it came to closing potential loopholes that could allow countries to dodge their commitments to cut emissions, "the U.S. pushed harder than almost anyone else for transparency rules that put all countries under the same system, and it's largely succeeded". The world climate conference was supposed to end on Friday.

The developed countries had pledged to collectively mobilize 100 billion US dollars a year by 2020 to help developing countries combat and better adapt to climate challenges but observers say the actual funding provided by the developed countries falls far behind the goal.

On the political front, President Trump says he intends to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement and has engaged China in a trade war; Brazil's new president-elect has signaled he may no longer support the agreement; and leaders in Europe are struggling with domestic challenges, including the recent "Yellow Vest" protests in France over fuel taxes.

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Expressing reservation over some issues in the agreement, India's lead negotiator Ravi Shankar Prasad said at the plenary that "India wishes to express its strong reservation regarding the treatment of equity in the global stock-take decision". The decisions were "1,000 small steps forward".

"Those rules, known as the 'transparency framework, ' are vital to the success of the Paris Agreement".

Delegates at the COP24 said China has been at the forefront of the challenging negotiations, working hard with various parties to untangle some of the key points of contention.

The world's largest developing country has adopted effective measures to tackle climate change, stepping forward as an example for other countries amid divisions and uncertainties, said Kurtyka.

"This we plan to do through issuance of Sovereign Green Bonds, establishment of the National Treasury as the National Designated Authority (NDA) for Green Climate Fund (GCF), establishment of the Climate Change Fund (CCF) and the Disaster Risk Financing Strategy all aimed at cushioning the economy from fiscal risks arising from the effects of climate related shocks and natural disasters", Tobiko said.

The U.S.is still technically in the Paris agreement until 2020, which is why American officials participated in the Katowice talks.

But the latest drafts offer little comfort to those countries that also want rich industrial nations to pay for damage already caused by global warming, arguing that they're to blame for most of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases humans have pumped into the atmosphere.



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