Outcome of 24th Session of Conference of Parties (COP)

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    20th Dec, 2018
  • The Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change has termed the outcome of 24th session of Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24) as positive.

Issue

Context

  • The Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change has termed the outcome of 24th session of Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24) as positive.
  • Demonstrating the spirit of commitment and leadership during the COP-24, India has reiterating its promise to implement the Paris Agreement in its spirit and to act collectively to address climate change.

Background

  • COP 24 was held in Katowice, Poland.
  • The conference focused on three key issues-
    • finalization of guidelines, modalities,
    • rules for the implementation of Paris Agreement, the conclusion of 2018 Facilitative Talanoa Dialogue and
    • the stocktake of Pre-2020 actions implementation and ambition.

About

UN Climate Summit (COP24)

  • The UN climate summits, i.e. COP (Conference of the Parties) are global conferences, were action for climate policy is negotiated. Poland hosted them twice - in 2008, in Pozna? and in 2013, in Warsaw. In December 2018, for the first time, the climate summit took placed in Katowice.
  • This year's summit include: 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), 14th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 14) and the Conference of Signatories to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1).

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

  • UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty adopted on 9 May 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, came into force on 21 March 1994.
  • Its objective is to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".
  • It sets non-binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. Instead, the framework outlines how specific international treaties (called "protocols" or "Agreements") may be negotiated to specify further action towards the objective of the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC has 197 parties as of December 2015. The parties to the convention have met annually from 1995 in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was concluded and established legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions during 2008–2012.
  • In 2015, the Paris Agreement was adopted, governing emission reductions from 2020 on through commitments of countries in Nationally Determined Contributions, lowering the target to 1.5 °C. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016.

Analysis

Key outcomes of COP 24

  • The participating nations agreed on the rules to implement the Paris Agreement that will come into effect in 2020. The rules are regarding how the member nations will measure the carbon-emissions and report on their emission scuttling efforts. This ‘rulebook’ is the detailed “operating manual” of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • They disagreed to “welcome” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 1.5°C. The USA, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait refused to ‘welcome’ the IPCC report.
  • The parties to the conference agreed to record the pledges in a public registry, as per the existing interim portal. The public registry will continue to include a search function, although many attempts have been made to get it deleted.
  • Members agreed upon that future pledges should cover a ‘common timeframe’ from 2031. Timeframe for this will be decided later.

Katowice package

The Katowice package includes guidelines that will operationalize the transparency framework.

  • The guidance on Nationally Determined Contributions preserves the nationally determined nature of NDCs and provides for Parties to submit different types of contributions including adaptation. The overall guidance reflects the principles of the Paris Agreement and recognizes the leadership that developed countries have to display for achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
  • The guidance on adaptation recognizes the adaptation needs of developing countries and is built on the overarching principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC). The differentiation has been operationalized by incorporating provisions on providing support for adaption activities of developing country parties.
  • The guidance on finance provisions operationalizes the obligation of developed countries in providing means of implementation to developing countries and recognizes the need for climate finance to be new and additional and climate specific. Parties have also agreed to initiate the work on setting up the new collective finance goals post-2020 from the floor of USD 100 billion.
  • The overarching framework for technology recognizes the need for enhanced support towards operationalization of the framework and comprehensively covers all stages of technology development and transfer.
  • The modalities for Global Stocktake take into consideration the core principles of equity and include assessment of collective progress on all the pillars of climate action.

Talanoa Dialogue and Action Before 2020

  • The Fiji-led Talanoa Dialogue, a year-long inclusive dialogue around ambition as it relates to the Paris Agreement, concluded at COP24, with the Global warming of 1.5C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a major input.
  • The final High-Level session in Katowice resulted in the Talanoa Call for Action, which calls upon all countries and stakeholders to act with urgency.
  • Countries are encouraged to factor the outcome of the dialogue into efforts to increase their ambition and to update their nationally determined contributions, which detail nations’ climate actions, in 2020.
  • A High-Level stock-taking of actions taken before 2020 gave countries the opportunity to assess their current level of ambition. Another stock-taking is planned for 2019.

India and COP24

  • India demonstrated the spirit of commitment and leadership during the COP-24 by reiterating its promise to implement the Paris Agreement in its spirit and to act collectively to address climate change. India engaged positively and constructively in all the negotiations while protecting India’s key interests including recognition of different starting points of developed and developing countries; flexibilities for developing countries and consideration of principles including equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC).
  • India has been in favour of a robust transparency regime, and the finalised Enhanced Transparency Framework builds upon the existing guidelines while providing flexibilities for developing countries.
  • India also engaged in a meaningful way in the '2018 Facilitative Talanoa Dialogue' and stocktake exercise on Pre-2020 implementation and ambition.
  • The Talanoa Dialogue was an inclusive and participatory process which led to exchanging best practices between all stakeholders. The pre-2020 stocktake exercise also led to a meaningful dialogue with developed countries being urged to step up their actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to address gaps in the provision of technology, finance and capacity-building support.
  • The outcome on dialogue also recalls the commitment of developed country parties to a goal of mobilising jointly 100 billion dollar per year by 2020. It also notes with concern the current, urgent and emerging needs related to extreme weather events and slow onset events in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • India considers the outcome of COP 24 a positive one which addresses concerns of all Parties and sets us on the path towards successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Way Forward

  • Many difficult matters could not reach an agreement and have been postponed to next year for resolution. This includes questions such as ways to scale up existing commitments on emission reduction, different ways of providing financial aid to the poor nations, wording that prevents double counting and whether member nations are doing enough to cut their respective emissions.
  • While there are gaps that remain, the stock-take of actions taken before 2020 and the Talanoa Dialogue have clearly shown that the world has built a strong foundation for climate action under the Paris Agreement.
  • The next United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Chile.

Learning Aid

Practice Question:

Discuss the key outcomes of the recently concluded session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 24) held in Katowice, Poland.

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