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Climate Change Conference Strikes Agreement On Rulebook

The COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland, finally reached an agreement on parts of a rulebook aimed at facilitating the implementation of the Paris Agreement targets for temperature change. Almost 200 countries signed the agreement, notably including the United States, which pulled out of the Paris Agreement, and China.

The process that preceded the agreement was laborious, with a clear divide between richer and poorer countries. The former were, for instance, not too fond of the idea of a ‘climate passport’ for refugees driven from their homes by climate change. The latter, on the other hand, were guarded towards climate change requirements that would cost too much in government spending.

What’s more, the agreement only covers certain issues that were discussed at the talks, namely emission reporting and reporting of the steps taken to reduce them. Poor countries were granted assurances of financial aid to advance these steps. Decisions on other important topics, however, were delayed until next year, much to the chagrin of environmentalists.

One of the stickiest parts of the rulebook that was left to be decided on next year was the setting up of a more efficient and transparent carbon trading market. While some countries, such as Brazil, were content with the present scheme for carbon emissions trade, the United States and others pushed for a more transparent mechanism.

“The majority of the rulebook for the Paris agreement has been created, which is something to be thankful for. But the fact countries had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the finish line shows that some nations have not woken up,” said one climate policy expert attending the talks, Mohamed Adow from Christian Aid.

“Through this package, you have made a thousand little steps forward together,” said Polish politician Michal Kurtyka, who led the talks. “We will all have to give in order to gain. We will all have to be courageous to look into the future and make yet another step for the sake of humanity.”

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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