Quantcast

5 Things to Know Before Next Week's Critical UN Climate Talks

Climate
The annual United Nations climate talks, aka COP24, will be held in Katowice, Poland. @UNFCCC / Twitter

Next week, heads of state and representatives from roughly 200 countries will descend in Katowice, Poland for the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, informally known as COP24.

Here are some things to know ahead of the critical summit:


1. The overarching goal. Creating a rulebook, or "work program," on how to implement the landmark 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C by the end of the century avoid the devastating impacts of climate change.

The two-week talks, which officially kicks off on Dec. 2, will be held just months after a dire report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warned that the world has a narrow 12-year window to drastically reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

At COP24, international negotiators will hammer out exactly how countries will track, report and verify emissions reductions commitments.

2. Calls for greater action. Unfortunately, the current commitments by world governments that signed the Paris agreement will not be enough to remain under 2°C, much less the more ambitious 1.5°C target.

For that reason, leaders from 16 European countries are calling for more stringent efforts to curb global warming, the Associated Press reported. At next week's talks, negotiators will aim for even more ambitious climate goals.

3. The $100 billion question. In 2009, richer countries pledged $100 billion a year by 2020 to poorer nations to tackle the effects of climate change. Bloomberg reported that the climate funding reached $70 billion as of 2016—so there's still a way to go. COP24 delegates from these poorer countries will want more details on when and how much money coming before committing to the rulebook.

Notably, it doesn't help that President Trump, who intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement, decided last year to cancel $2 billion in promised funding.

4. What the United States will do. Preparatory meetings were held in Bangkok this past September to draft out details of the rulebook before the Katowice summit. As DeSmog explained, the U.S. was criticized over working to delay clarity over the agreement's financing (nonetheless, a top UN negotiator praised "good progress" from the talks).

Reuters reported earlier this month that President's Trump team will "set up a side-event promoting fossil fuels" at the climate summit. Citing three sources, the American officials will "highlight the benefits of technologies that more efficiently burn fuels including coal," Reuters reported.

5. You can participate, too. Climate change is not some far-away phenomenon, it is here now and impacts people around the globe everyday.

This year, the UN created a "People's Seat" for you to "virtually sit" and share your views alongside government leaders at the climate talks. To join the effort, tag your thoughts with hashtag #TakeYourSeat on social media.

Famed naturalist David Attenborough will deliver the "People's Address" at the COP24 plenary on Dec. 3, which will be broadcast on social media around the world.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Watchfield Solar Park in England. RTPeat / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Simon Evans

During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels, the analysis shows.

Read More Show Less
A demonstrator waves an Ecuadorian flag during protests against the end of subsidies to gasoline and diesel on Oct. 9 in Quito, Ecuador. Jorge Ivan Castaneira Jaramillo / Getty Images

The night before Indigenous Peoples' Day, an Indigenous-led movement in Ecuador won a major victory.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Protesters block the road outside Mansion House in London during an XR climate change protest. Gareth Fuller / PA Images via Getty Images

One week into Extinction Rebellion's planned two weeks of International Rebellion to demand action on the climate crisis, the London police have banned the group from the city.

Read More Show Less
Protestors marched outside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Monday, August 26, during the MTV Video and Music Awards to bring attention to the water crisis currently gripping the city. Karla Ann Cote / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Will Sarni

It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.

Read More Show Less
Pexels
  • Mice exposed to nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor developed lung cancer within a year.
  • More research is needed to know what this means for people who vape.
  • Other research has shown that vaping can cause damage to lung tissue.

A new study found that long-term exposure to nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor increases the risk of cancer in mice.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Demonstrators with The Animal Welfare Institute hold a rally to save the vaquita, the world's smallest and most endangered porpoise, outside the Mexican Embassy in DC on July 5, 2018. SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

Six months: That's how much time Mexico now has to report on its progress to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) from extinction.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

It may seem innocuous to flush a Q-tip down the toilet, but those bits of plastic have been washing up on beaches and pose a threat to the birds, turtles and marine life that call those beaches home. The scourge of plastic "nurdles," as they are called, has pushed Scotland to implement a complete ban on the sale and manufacture of plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, as the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less
Air conditioners, like these in a residential and restaurant area of Singapore city, could put a massive strain on electricity grids during more intense heatwaves. Taro Hama @ e-kamakura / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

Scientists in the U.S. have added a new dimension to the growing hazard of extreme heat. As global average temperatures rise, so do the frequency, duration and intensity of heatwaves.

Read More Show Less