Paris Climate Agreement Adopts Rules for Action

At the COP24 in Poland, nations agree on a set of rules to facilitate a greener transition.

It’s been three years since the Paris Agreement was signed by 196 state parties in Le Bourget, France, and the conversation surrounding global action to deal with greenhouse gas emissions and general climate practices continues to adapt to a rapidly changing world. The deal, which is part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is a pledge by each member to find their respective solutions for the common long-term goal to halt the increase of global average temperature below 2° celsius – the most drastic global effort to prevent climate catastrophe in history. The agreement is set to be imposed in 2020.

The latest development about the COP24 comes from Katowice, Poland – the heart of the nation’s coal industry. After overnight negotiations, nearly 200 countries have agreed on a set of rules that will make implementing the agreement easier (and thus staying on board to meet the climate protection goal).  According to NPR, “The rules describe in detail how countries will track their emissions and communicate with each other about their progress in the coming years and decades. But it stops short of committing them to the more ambitious emissions reductions necessary to slow climate change,” which made the meeting a success while also providing a reality check as to the very intricate and collaborative work that lays ahead.

Notable heeding points in the conversation are the political difficulties affecting individual nations, such as Brexit for the United Kingdom, “Yellow Vest” protests in France, and the United States’ intention to revert to coal and abandon the Paris Agreement entirely under the Trump administration – a move that has inspired other nations, like Brazil, from considering abandoning the agreement as well. However, amid new scientific reports that paint a clear picture of the state of the planet and its future, as well as reports that nations are not on track to reduce their emissions, it is clear that there is a lot of work to be done globally to avoid climatic catastrophes.

Although the meeting is a step forward in an action based direction, many of the smaller nations that are part of the agreement felt frustrated with the lack of accountability addressed and with their place in a race designated for them to get behind. As NPR reports, “The Malaysian delegation called for more money to flow from countries like the U.S. — the world’s largest economy and the second largest polluter — to help pay for damage caused by climate change, saying, ‘We owe this to the poor and vulnerable who are paying sometimes with their lives in our part of the world.’”

The United Nations will host a follow-up meeting in September of 2019, where new actions will reflect ongoing scientific reports on climate change.


Featured image: Czarek Sokolowski/AP