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Home / news / Urgent climate change action needed: the next two years are crucial

Urgent climate change action needed: the next two years are crucial

“The planet is at a crossroads” warn four former UN climate talks presidents in an effort to encourage effective action against climate change  Tweet This!, stressing that “decisive action in the next two years will be crucial”. This statement comes as world leaders meet in Katowice, Poland, for the COP 24 UN climate conference.

This meeting is seen as the most critical since the 2015 Paris agreement. Experts warn that drastic cuts in carbon emissions are necessary to reach the Paris goals, while the World Bank has announced $200bn in funding for countries that take action to limit climate change.

Why is this meeting different?

This COP (Conference of the Parties) is the first to take place after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C. According to the IPCC report, to achieve this goal, governments would have to reduce GHG emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. However, a recent study showed that CO2 emissions are, once again, increasing.

Protecting those most vulnerable to climate change, should also be a top priority. According to Gebru Jember Endalew, who chairs the group of poorest nations in the negotiations, “the IPCC report made crystal clear that every bit of warming matters, especially for the least developed countries.”

Additionally, for both China and the EU, this meeting is critical, as they want to show that international collaboration to address climate change is still possible in the age of President Trump.

What will be the focus of the meeting?

Conference delegates will focus on finalising the technical rules of how the Paris agreement – which does not become operational until 2020 – will work. Delegates will have to agree on common rules (the “rulebook”) for measuring, reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions, and for providing climate finance.

Is the UN process moving fast enough?

In view of the undoubtedly slow pace of the process, some campaigners argue that politicians around the globe are failing to realise the scale of the threat rising temperatures present. “Governments across the world have completely failed to protect their citizens,” said a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, a social movement pushing for radical change on climate issues.

On a more optimistic note, Achim Steiner, who heads the United Nations Development Programme, says that despite the difficulties encountered, “we have a $300bn renewable energy economy at work today – it’s not peanuts, it’s an energy revolution that has unfolded on the back of, yes, a sometimes sticky climate negotiation process”.

Will President Trump and the US take part?

The US has withdrawn from the Paris agreement, but it cannot leave until 2020. Thus, US negotiators are participating in meetings, and are expected to take part in COP 24. However, it has been reported that the White House will, for one more time, organise a side event, promoting fossil fuels – a move that is likely to outrage many delegates.

 

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References:

This article is based on published information by the BBC. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the publication’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the following link:

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46398057

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