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Least Developed Countries Group Welcome Katowice Decision on Climate Change with Caution

COP24 was held in Katowice Poland at the beginning of December 2018. Photo by Fredrick Mugira

Friday December 28th, 2018

Fredrick Mugira
December 16, 2018

The least developed countries have welcomed the set of guidelines for the implementation of the Paris agreement that were adopted over the weekend at the UN Climate change summit in Poland but feel some parts of the agreement are weak.

“While there are parts of the package that could and should have been stronger, the implementation guidelines adopted today provide a strong basis to start implementing the Agreement” says Gebru Jember Endalew, chair of the least developed countries group.

“The next step, of course, is for countries to take urgent, ambitious action to fulfill their Paris Agreement commitments,” Endalew further notes.

The UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland was meant to uphold the Paris Agreement and respond to the emergency of the climate crisis.

It however failed to increase ambition of countries to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases as per the findings of the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“It was beyond disappointing that all countries were not able to welcome the IPCC report on 1.5°C here in Katowice. We cannot ignore its findings, and we absolutely must not ignore its recommendations,” says Endalew.

The Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC), warns that the planet is heating up faster than anticipated and that the world has only less than 12 years to take ambitious action to avoid catastrophes. It indicates that climate change will lead to more flooding, famine, drought and disease in developing countries such as Uganda, negatively impacting millions of people.

Protestors during the UN climate change summit in Poland. Photo by Fredrick Mugira

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi (India)-based think tank which closely tracked the negotiations at the 24th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) says there is nothing to celebrate from Katowice climate summit.

“The Katowice CoP will be remembered as an anti-science CoP for its failure to take into account the findings of the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5oC. It will also be remembered for coming out with a Rulebook that dilutes an already weak Paris Agreement, thereby undermining the global effort to combat climate change,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.

CSE also accuses COP24 of diluting rules on financial contributions by developed countries after it failed to define what all will constitute ‘finance’.

According to Paris Agreement, developed countries are to contribute up to US $100 billion each year by 2020 to battle climate change. But this is not being met. And the Katowice Rulebook was meant to define what all will constitute ‘finance’, and how it will be reported and reviewed.

But the COP24 failed to do this. Instead, according to Katowice rulebook, developed countries have the choice to include all kinds of financial instruments, concessional and non-concessional loans, grants, aids etc., from various public and private sources, to meet their commitments. Celebrate

“Developed countries now have the freedom to decide the amount and the kind of financial resources they want to give to the developing countries and do this without any strong mechanism of accountability. The idea of ‘new and additional’ financial support from developed to the developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change is now a mirage”, says Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

While addressing a press conference at the summit, leaders of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a group of 48 of the most vulnerable countries in the planet, said amidst prolonged floods, droughts and extreme weather events that devastate lives and economies, they will do whatever it takes to survive.

“We are not prepared to die. We have no intention of becoming climate change’s first victim. We will do whatever it takes to survive,” said Mohamed Nasheed, former President of Maldives and co-founder of the CVF.

This story was supported by the 2018 Climate Change Media Partnership, collaboration between Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Foundation.

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