The 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - the most important climate conference since the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 – ended in Katowice today (15 December). More than 20,000 participants had travelled to Poland, including many Heads of State and Government as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
At the conference, informally known as COP24, the international community agreed on the Katowice Rulebook following two weeks of negotiations. This is also a success for the EU and the German delegation headed by Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, who campaigned for clear and binding rules for all.
The Rulebook spells out the details on implementing the Paris Climate Agreement. It lays down how countries’ national climate contributions should be measured, compared and forwarded to the UNFCCC secretariat.
In addition, the first Talanoa Dialogue took place at COP24, during which the international community reviewed global emissions reductions since 2015. Together with the UN Secretary-General, the countries discussed how they can step up their efforts and increase their national climate targets, thus sending the clear message that they want to see more climate protection.
Climate funding to assist developing countries in particular in carrying out the global transformation was also discussed in Katowice. The international community wants to make available 100 billion US dollars annually from 2020 in order to help developing countries and emerging economies to implement the Paris Climate Agreement. Germany announced at COP24 that it would double its contribution to the Green Climate Fund, the Agreement’s most important financing instrument, to 1.5 billion euros from 2019 – a commitment which received considerable political attention. In this way, the German Government is making an important contribution to implementing the Paris Climate Agreement, which is a shining example of successful multilateralism.
Far greater efforts are needed
One can already see that countries’ current climate targets will not be enough to limit global warming to significantly under 2°C and ideally to 1.5°C. Without further efforts, the global temperature could increase by over 3°C by 2100. The foreseeable effects of climate change would pose too great a challenge for many countries. The impact of climate change is already having an adverse effect on the stability of entire countries and regions. In connection with other factors, climate change thus poses a threat to peace and security. A report recently published by the United Nations Environment Programme warns that global climate efforts must be tripled in order to adhere to the 2°C goal. To keep global warming to 1.5°C, as much as five times more effort is needed.
Impact on security and stability at the heart of German climate diplomacy
Ambitious climate policy is thus part of forward-looking foreign policy. Germany has been one of the most active countries in this field for years and, together with partners from Nauru and Sweden, discussed the links between climate and security in the German pavilion at COP24. This link is also one of the priorities for Germany’s membership of the United Nations Security Council in the next two years