Governments ‘not ready’ for Katowice COP24

Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and President of COP 23 at the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn, Germany, 12 November 2017. [Ronald Wittek/EPA/EFE]

Governments are unprepared for a crucial climate change meeting in Poland later this year aimed at ensuring the full implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said on Tuesday (4 September) at the opening of climate talks in Bangkok.

The talks in the Thai capital come ahead of a gathering in Katowice, Poland in December, when government ministers will meet to agree rules for the 2015 Paris climate accord.

COP24 in Katowice: Poland between reason and ambitions

Poland says it will focus on “common sense” at December’s UN Climate Summit. But following last month’s dismissal of environment minister Jan Szyszko, it currently has no chairman responsible for preparing the summit. EURACTIV Poland’s media partner WysokieNapiecie.pl reports.

US President Donald Trump, who in the past has described climate change as a hoax, pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement in 2017, saying it favoured other countries and was disadvantageous to the United States.

The Paris Agreement set a sweeping goal of ending the fossil fuel era this century, but the text was vague on details. Bainimarama, who is also president of the COP23 or 23rd annual Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that without guidelines countries “risk chaos at Katowice and the possibility of yet another delay in the urgent work of combating climate change.”

“In three months’ time we will be in Katowice, and frankly, we are not ready. I don’t think that statement should surprise anyone in this room,” he said in an opening statement.

After failing to make enough progress in Bonn in May, the Bangkok summit is seen as a last shot before Katowice. “This is not just an additional session. It is an urgent session,” Bainimarama said.

“Would any of us like to return to our people and tell them that we had the chance to do something truly great and truly necessary for the world we will pass to our children, but that we lacked the will to get it done?” he asked.

“Around our world the effects of climate change are becoming more evident and more severe. No country or region is spared and the effects in one region are felt in others,” he added.

He urged delegates to come up with clear guidelines.

On Sunday, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told Reuters governments are not on track to meet a goal of the Paris agreement of capping temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) before the end of the century.

Espinosa said she hopes a draft text for negotiation on the “rule book’ of the 2015 agreement will emerge at the end of the week-long Bangkok talks.

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