Paris Agreement ‘rulebook’ adopted at climate conference in Katowice
Over the course of two weeks, the UN Climate Change Conference, COP24, has been under way in Katowice, where the focus has been on the formulation of the Paris Agreement ‘rulebook’. At overtime, the countries succeeded in agreeing on a common regulatory framework that will govern how they implement their climate efforts under the Paris Agreement.
The result means that there is now a robust and long-term regulatory framework on how the countries are to plan, communicate, implement, report and follow up their commitments under the Paris Agreement. There are also rules on how to follow up the worlds global climate effort and how it correspond to the global goals of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement contains the requirement that there be rules, and that these rules be developed and decided at this year’s conference of the parties. The countries have now fortunately succeeded in delivering this regulatory framework.
“It is very positive that a common, robust and balanced rulebook has now been successfully decided, where the countries are to continuously improve their climate efforts. That almost 200 countries have agreed on such strong rules in today’s geopolitical climate is a success and demonstrates the strength of the Paris Agreement,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lövin, who led the Swedish delegation in Katowice.
The only thing that the countries did not manage to negotiate in time were rules for joint forms of cooperation to limit Climate Change. These concern, for example, how countries are to be able to implement climate measures in other countries, and how countries can trade emission rights with each other. Countries will now continue to negotiate these issues next year instead.
“We had of course hoped that we would succeed in taking a decision on this too, but there was simply not enough time to resolve many of the technical and political issues surrounding these rules. At the same time, we believe it is better to continue to develop this next year rather than adopt weak rules. It is important that the use of cooperation mechanisms actually lead to real emission reductions, and rigorous rules are therefore needed on how to count these and enter them in the books,” says Ms Lövin.
Support to developing countries
Support and Climate funding to developing countries were a crunch issue inthe negotiations. One of the cornerstones of the Paris Agreement is that rich countries are to lead the way and reduce their emissions, while supporting developing countries in their transition. A difficult issue has been that the developing countries want to know in advance what support the richer countries will contribute so that they can incorporate this in their planning.
It is, in essence, a question of trust. The developing countries want to know how much support they will receive for a certain time to come. Donor countries like Sweden are trying to resolve this with their annual budget processes and the fact that we change government on a regular basis.
The parties have agreed rules for this and also that every four years, from 2020, an assessment will be carried out of what support the developing countries require in order to implement the Paris Agreement.
Isabella Lövin mediated in a sensitive issue
A controversy that arose during the meeting on how the countries should receive the special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius has received a great deal of attention. Most countries wanted to see a clear welcoming of the report, whereas Saudi Arabia, the United States, Russia and Kuwait only wanted the report to be noted.
The Polish chair therefore gave Ms Lövin the task of leading the talks between the countries to try to find a solution. Despite the fact that it initially seemed clear that it would be difficult to achieve consensus, a joint formulation was agreed in the end.
“The starting point of talks was to depoliticise the science and content of this important report. The countries have now agreed that we should be guided by the best science available, and acknowledged that the report represents the best science we have right now,” says Ms Lövin.
The task also included leading talks on how the countries are to handle the outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue. During the dialogue, countries have evaluated how global climate efforts correspond to the 1.5 degree Celsius goal, and how ambitions can be raised.
“The Talanoa Dialogue gave visibility to much of the climate efforts taking place throughout the world, and have shown examples of how ambitions can be raised. The countries wanted to highlight this in the decision text. However, no new decisions on how the results should be used were considered necessary. This is because the Paris Agreement already states that the dialogue is to guide countries when they develop their national climate plans,” says Ms Lövin.