COP24: UN Climate Change Conference 2018
- GS Prelims, GS Mains paper III
- Environment, COP 24
Why in News?
- The annual UN climate change conference (COP24) opened in the Polish city of Katowice on December 3, with the goal of finalising the implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
- We talked about mitigating climate change and India’s efforts in this regard through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance, tweeted Modi.
- Following a year of devastating climate disasters around the globe, from California to Kerala, and Tonga to Japan, the annual UN climate change conference (COP24) opened in the Polish city of Katowice on December 3 with the goal of finalising the implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
- The 12-day conference will conclude on December 14.
- The guidelines will provide clarity on how to implement the landmark agreement fairly and transparently for all.
What is the COP24?
- In 1992, the UN organised a major event in Rio de Janeiro called the Earth Summit, in which the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted.
- In this treaty, nations agreed to ‘stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere’ to prevent dangerous interference from human activity on the climate system.
- Today, the treaty has 197 signatories.
- Every year since the treaty entered into force in 1994, a ‘conference of the parties’ — a COP — is held to discuss how to move forward and, since there have been 23 COPs so far, this year’s will be the 24th, or COP24.
India’s role at COP24:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN chief Antonio Guterresheld discussions about climate change and India’s support for the Paris Climate Agreement on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit.
- Secretary-General Guterres and the Indian leader discussed the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) and the importance of the completion of the Paris Agreement Work Programme, its transparency framework and climate finance.
- Guterres thanked Modi for his commitment to increase India’s nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement.
- There were wide-ranging deliberations on various global issues including mitigating climate change and India’s efforts in this regard through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
- The ISA is a treaty based inter-governmental alliance of 121 sunshine-rich countries that lie fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
- As part of the Paris Climate Agreement, India has targeted to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions up to 35 per cent by 2030.
Basic facts on COP24, UN’s annual climate change conference:
- The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowiceis a huge venture which many parties are involved in, bringing together hundreds of people working for the final success.
- COP24 will generate a carbon footprint of 55,000 tonnes of CO2.
- To balance this emission, the State Forests will additionally plant more than six million trees (i.e. twice as many as in Central Park in New York City).
Agenda of side events:
- December 3: Just Transition
- December 4: Electromobility
- December 5: Innovation
- December 6: Energy Sector
- December 7: Forest
- December 8: City
- December 10: Finances and Climate
- December 11: Measures, financing, technologies for clean air
- December 12: Clean Fuels
- December 13: Heating
- December 14: Human
Key topics of discussion at COP24
During COP24, the Polish Presidency plans to focus its attention on three key topics:
- Technology: To show that there are climate-friendly modern solutions, such as electromobility allowing for sustainable urban development, clean air and an opportunity for modern jobs.
- Human: Emphasizing the need to lead change together with people through the solidarity and fair transformation of regions and industrial sectors.
- Nature: Including multifunctional and sustainable forest management as part of climate neutrality and the role of forests as greenhouse gas sinks, and support for a synergic view of the three UN key conventions: on climate, on biodiversity and on desertification.
The dozens of heads of states from around the world are joining the delegates already present in Katowice. President of Poland Andrzej Duda will welcome them during COP24’s opening ceremony.
Vision for COP24
Adopting a decision ensuring full implementation of the Paris Agreement:
- Specifically, the parties involved in the conference will strengthen international cooperation by ensuring that national contributions to the global effort are transparent, responsibility is shared fairly and progress on reducing emissions and building resilience can be accurately measured.
- Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s Climate Chief, said: “This year is likely to be one of the four hottest years on record. Greenhouses gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record levels and emissions continue to rise. Climate change impacts have never been worse. This reality is telling us that we need to do much more — COP24 needs to make that happen.”
- A finalized set of implementation guidelines will unleash practical climate actions with respect to all targets and goals of the Paris Agreement, including adapting to climate change impacts, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing financial and other support to developing countries.
- Six months after the 2015 Paris Summit, the negotiations on the implementation guidelines were launched and the Conference of Parties (COP24) was set as the deadline.
Meeting the 1.5C target:
- The conference is being held hot on the heels of the Global Warming of 1.5C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as a cascade of UN and other reports on increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions and on health and other serious impacts.
- COP24 will also conclude the year-long, Fiji-led Talanoa Dialogue, the first-ever international conversation of its kind to assess progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the goal of limiting global temperature increases.
- One of the dialogue’s aims is to find practical and local solutions for how countries can increase their ambition in the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which describe their individual efforts to reduce national emissions.
- During the high-level event that will conclude the Talanoa Dialogue, ministers will consider the IPCC’s 1.5 degrees Celsius report and its relevance in the context of future actions.