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Climate Change | COP24 Climate Summit

Poland climate summit fundamental to tackle climate change

Dr. Mario Picazo
Meteorologist, PhD

Monday, December 3, 2018, 4:07 PM - The United Nations Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland is taking place through December 14. It is arguably the most important event on climate negotiations since 2015.

The Paris Agreement was drafted in December 2015. 196 countries gathered to create a common project with the objective of reaching zero carbon emissions. Fast forward to December 2018's COP24 climate summit in Poland. A lot is at stake these next two weeks, because now is the time to set the rules of the game. Rules that will allow all the countries on board of the climate action agreement to put into motion, hoping this will be the definite push forward.

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There has been some controversy behind the actual stage of the COP24, since Poland is a very coal dependent country. In terms of power generation in the country, 80 per cent of it comes from coal-based power plants and the summit is sponsored by JWS -- the largest coal producer in Poland. Other sponsors include PGE and Tauron, two of the main electrical companies, which happen to be very coal dependent as well.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Poland climate summit arrives only a few weeks after the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change published a special report with an unequivocal message about the urgent changes that need to be made during the next decade in a considerable number of global economy sectors. The goal is to contain global warming to 1.5oC by reducing the use of fossil fuels -- a temperature value that is well below the 2.0oC agreed in Paris back in 2016.

Image courtesy of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The latest IPCC report coincides with a period in human history where we have seen the greatest increase in global awareness towards climate change. The impacts of a new climate are already shaping our lives, and the footprint is so clear that leaders from around the world gathered in Katowice should have enough momentum from this movement to push forward all agreed actions to start slowing down the accelerated human impact on climate.

Image courtesy of UNFCCC COP 24

Politicians, CEOs and scientists are gathering at the Poland climate summit to not only put on the table the actual situation of our climate, future scenarios we should expect and solutions we need in order to move forward, but the economic development opportunities this action for climate entails. The recent 2018 report on the economy of climate shows astronomical figures on what the economic benefits of putting forward the agreed climate action would mean. Between now and 2030, countries across the globe could see a benefit of around $26 trillion USD, a figure that should definitely motivate many governments to get involved with the project.

Ongoing meetings over the next two weeks at the COP24 will be fundamental for countries around the world to really show their compromise to get the ball rolling on what they committed to in Paris three years ago. The main points to move forward include:

  1. Each country must present the detailed guidelines they intend to follow in order to meet their compromise in Paris 2016
  2. Show a solid compromise to strengthen climate related action by 2020
  3. Have sufficient funding to reach the proposed goals, knowing that developed countries will help underdeveloped ones reach their goal

The devastating impacts of climate change are outweighing the initiatives to accelerate action against climate. Let's trust that the COP24 movement will eventually become the rain that puts out the fire, meaning we will finally reverse the current climate change situation, which without a doubt, requires the implication of ALL countries and their inhabitants.

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