On 24 November 2018, the last in a cycle interministerial meetings of the COP24 conference organization team was held at the International Congress Centre in Katowice. The meeting was attended by Minister’s Plenipotentiary for the Organisation of COP24, Rafał Bochenek, as well as other representatives of government departments and Śląskie Voivodship self-government. The dedicated team worked for 9 months, coordinating actions connected with preparing and conducting 24th session of the biggest global UN conference, concerning climate politics. Photo: UN / COP24

By Frank Jordans And Monika Scislowska
28 November 2018

KATOWICE, Poland (AP) – Three years after sealing a landmark global climate deal in Paris, world leaders are gathering again to agree on the fine print [Katowice Climate Change Conference –Des].

The euphoria of 2015 has given way to sober realization that getting an agreement among almost 200 countries, each with their own political and economic demands, will be challenging — as evidenced by President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris accord, citing his “America First” mantra.

“Looking from the outside perspective, it’s an impossible task,” Poland’s deputy environment minister, Michal Kurtyka, said of the talks he will preside over in Katowice from Dec. 2-14.

Top of the agenda will be finalizing the so-called Paris rulebook, which determines how countries have to count their greenhouse gas emissions, transparently report them to the rest of the world and reveal what they are doing to reduce them.

Seasoned negotiators are calling the meeting, which is expected to draw 25,000 participants, “Paris 2.0” because of the high stakes at play in Katowice.

Forest fires from California to Greece, droughts in Germany and Australia, tropical cyclones Mangkhut in the Pacific and Michael in the Atlantic — scientists say this year’s extreme weather offers a glimpse of disasters to come if global warming continues unabated.

A recent report by the International Panel on Climate Change warned that time is running out if the world wants to achieve the most ambitious target in the Paris agreement — keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The planet has already warmed by about 1 degree C since pre-industrial times and it’s on course for another 2-3 degrees of warming by the end of the century unless drastic action is taken.

The conference will have “quite significant consequences for humanity and for the way in which we take care of our planet,” Kurtyka told the Associated Press ahead of the talks. […]

“Everyone recognized that the national plans, when you add everything up, will take us way beyond 3, potentially 4 degrees Celsius warming,” said Johan Rockstrom, the incoming director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

“We know that we’re moving in the wrong direction,” said Rockstrom. “We need to bend the global carbon emissions no later than 2020 — in two years’ time — to stand a chance to stay under 2 degrees Celsius.” […]

Among those likely to be pressing hardest for ambitious measures will be small island nations , which are already facing serious challenges from climate change.

The U.S., meanwhile, is far from being the driving force it was during the Paris talks under President Barack Obama. Brazil and Australia, previously staunch backers of the accord, appear to be following in Trump’s footsteps.

Some observers fear nationalist thinking on climate could scupper all hope of meaningful progress in Katowice. Others are more optimistic. [more]

World faces ‘impossible’ task at post-Paris climate talks

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