Will COP24 help the Paris Agreement come to fruition?
The main purpose of this year’s Conference of Parties (COP24), taking place in Katowice, is to assess the progress in the fight against climate change and to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol in order to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The importance of COP24 has been magnified due to several reasons.
First, COP24 will mark the third anniversary of the adoption of the historic Paris Agreement -- reached at COP21 in 2015 -- which aims to limit global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. However, there is still a lack of proper viable work plans for the implementation of their commitments.
Thus, it is expected of the world leaders that, in order to monitor progress and ensure transparency of climate action, COP24 will address the issue of rules and procedures of how countries will meet this Paris Agreement.
Second, to limit global greenhouse gas emissions, climate change finance is another crucial aspect in enabling the most vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change. Recently, the UNFCCC Finance Standing Committee announced that global climate finance flows increased by 17% in 2015-16 compared to the levels in 2013-14. UNFCCC also reported that the climate finance for developing countries increased by 24% in 2015 to reach $33 billion and subsequently by 14% in 2016 to reach $38bn.
However, while climate-related financial flows are large, they remain relatively small in the context of broader global investment trends.
COP24 needs to clearly define the way forward for climate finance to ensure increased support for climate action in order to empower developing countries, as they have pledged to increase funding for climate action and development of national climate plans by 2020.
Last but not least, COP24 should address ambition -- what nations might want to do to improve upon their emissions reduction commitments in Paris when they are updated in 2020.
Therefore, the Katowice conference is bound to make a significant contribution to the achievement of the Paris Agreement, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect our planet. As our planet is already witnessing increasingly extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and the melting of Arctic sea ice, damage to coral reefs, loss of biodiversity, and species extinction.
Muhammad Mehedi Masud is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Development Studies, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, Malaysia.