Diplomats at United Nations climate talks agree on reporting emissions

Pablo Tucker
December 18, 2018

After two weeks of bruising negotiations, officials from nearly 200 countries agreed Saturday on universal, transparent rules that will govern efforts to cut emissions and curb global warming.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made his third trip in two weeks to the COP24 in the Polish mining city of Katowice in a bid to push a deal over the line.

The sun sets over buildings in Milan, Italy as the climate change conference, COP24, came to a close.

The head of the conference, Michal Kurtyka, sealed the compromise with a stroke of the gavel.

'While some rulebook elements still need to be fleshed out, it is a foundation for strengthening the Paris agreement and could help facilitate United States re-entry into the Paris agreement by a future presidential administration, ' said Alden Meyer of the union of concerned scientists.

Polish Deputy Environment Minister Michał Kurtyka, president of the summit in Katowice, hailed the declaration as "a historical moment". "You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again", said Thunberg, who called for a global student strike Friday to raise awareness.

A sticking point among the nations was whether to bring in more ambitious climate protection targets before 2020. Until recently, there was also Anger the global trade in pollution rights.

Countries are on a self-imposed deadline to produce a "rulebook" to flesh out details of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius and which comes into force in 2020.

The next United Nations climate summit is taking place in Chile. The 20 warmest have been in the past 22 years.

The world is heading for a 3-5C rise in temperatures this century, the UN World Meteorological Organization has said.

Ministers and negotiators from almost 200 nations were making a final effort on Friday evening to find consensus on the language and sticking points of a package to implement a landmark agreement to combat climate change.

Primarily peer pressure is expected to keep everyone on course.

The final decision text was repeatedly delayed as negotiators sought guidelines that could ward off the worst threats posed by the heating planet while protecting the economies of rich and poor nations alike.

Alex Hanafi, lead counsel at the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund, said Brazil was trying to weaken the rules in such a way that would allow countries to count their emissions reductions twice, undermining the carbon markets.

Parties to the 195-nation talks could not even agree to "welcome" the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 1.5 deg C, as urged by at-risk nations.

The final plenary session of the United Nations conference on climate change had begun after repeated delays.

Scientists say global emissions need to drop dramatically by 2030 and reach near-zero by 2050 in order to prevent the potentially catastrophic consequences for life on Earth. Worldwide cooperation; global cooperative initiatives; shared responsibilities and solidarity, he said will remain vital components, if we are to combat climate change. Instead, governments let people down again as they ignored the science and the plight of the vulnerable.

Washington wants countries to contribute to the climate fight based on their current emissions levels, rather than their historic pollution, meaning the U.S. would be less bound to help developing nations green their economies.

"It is a weak rule book that we have for implementation of the Paris Agreement".

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