World agrees on rules to operationalise Paris accord … writes Vishal Gulati
Nearly 200 nations have agreed to enforce rules on implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP24, dragged on into the final hours of Saturday, one full day beyond the original deadline, suffering some holdback due to certain objections of Brazil and Turkey.
The talks finally ended with the 133-page Paris rulebook being unanimously adopted in the Polish city of Katowice.
The Paris deal will come into force in 2020.
The guidelines, known as Paris rulebook, will promote trust among nations that all countries are playing their part in addressing the challenge of climate change.
COP24 President Michal Kurtyka of Poland said: “All nations have worked tirelessly. All nations showed their commitment. All nations can leave Katowice with a sense of pride, knowing that their efforts have paid off.”
“The guidelines contained in the Katowice Climate Package provide the basis for implementing the agreement as of 2020,” Kurtyka, who opened the conference’s closing plenary meeting, which had been postponed close to a dozen times.
Expressing reservation over some issues in the agreement, India’s lead negotiator Ravi Shankar Prasad said at the plenary that “India wishes to express its strong reservation regarding the treatment of equity in the global stock-take decision”.
“Equity is specifically mentioned in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement. It is the basic principle of the convention and the Paris Agreement. The entire global stock-take exercise will be lopsided if the process, input, the technical assessment and output of the global stock-take does not fully address equity.”
The implementation of the agreement will benefit people from all walks of life, especially the most vulnerable, said the UN Climate Change secretariat.
The agreed “Katowice Climate Package” is designed to operationalise the climate change regime contained in the Paris Agreement. It will promote international cooperation and encourage greater ambition, it said.
The Paris guidelines will promote trust among nations that all countries are playing their part in addressing the challenge of climate change.
The Katowice package includes guidelines that will operationalise the transparency framework.
It sets out how countries will provide information about their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that describe their domestic climate actions. This information includes mitigation and adaptation measures as well as details of financial support for climate action in developing countries.
The package also includes guidelines that relate to the process for establishing new targets on finance from 2025 onwards to follow-on from the current target of mobilising $100 billion per year from 2020 to support developing countries.
The other guidelines include how to conduct the global stock take of the effectiveness of climate action in 2023 and how to assess progress on the development and transfer of technology by the developed nations.
The agreed guidelines mean that countries can now establish the national systems that are needed for implementing the Paris Agreement as of 2020. The same will be done at the international level.
Functioning together, these systems will ensure that nations can act in an atmosphere of trust and assess progress of their climate actions.
The main issues still to be resolved concern the use of cooperative approaches, as well as the sustainable development mechanism, as contained in the Paris Agreement’s Article 6.
These would allow countries to meet a part of their domestic mitigation goals through the use of so-called “market mechanisms”.
Market mechanisms provide flexible instruments for reducing the costs of cutting emissions, such as carbon markets.
The two-week-long climate negotiations were scheduled to conclude on Friday with the adoption of the Paris rulebook, but negotiators had been unable to stitch together an agreement despite endless rounds of negotiations and back-room diplomacy.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres came three times to Katowice in the past two weeks to support the negotiations but, given the repeated delays, was forced to leave before the closing plenary.
Admitting stalemates during the negotiations over accounting of climate actions, Espinosa said: “From the beginning of the COP, it very quickly became clear that this was one area that still required much work and that the details to operationalise this part of the Paris Agreement had not yet been sufficiently explored.”
“After many rich exchanges and constructive discussions, the greatest majority of countries were willing to agree and include the guidelines to operationalize the market mechanisms in the overall package,” she said.
“Unfortunately, in the end, the differences could not be overcome.”
Because of this, countries have agreed to finalise the details for market mechanisms in the coming year in view of adopting them at the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP25).