Big polluters fall short at COP24 despite leadership of the most vulnerable
Outcome not enough to address climate emergency, governments must now step up nationally
Katowice, 15 December. On Saturday evening, the UN climate change talks concluded in Katowice, Poland after much debate. At the start of COP24, CARE reminded parties that equity must be upheld in climate action. Our appeals were heard by some, but a contingent of countries punched below their weight. At COP24, countries adopted a set of decisions which include a rulebook to guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement, financial support to developing countries and conclusions on further work to reduce emissions necessitated by the findings of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special report on 1.5°C. While the outcome matches procedural expectations towards the conference, it is still inadequate to tackle the climate emergency.
Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change, CARE International, said: “At COP24, a number of powerful countries, driven by short-sighted interests, pushed to abolish the ambitious 1.5°C limit and throw away the alarming findings on harmful climate impacts of the IPCC Special Report. The most vulnerable countries, civil society and people on the ground have been leading the fight for climate justice. While governments accomplished the important task of adopting a rulebook to further the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the world now requires much faster and stronger climate action at the national level, and support for poor countries to build climate resilience.”
Vitumbiko Chinoko, Partnerships and Advocacy Coordinator, CARE Southern Africa, said: “Vulnerable countries can not carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Multilateralism was held hostage at COP24 by a few powerful countries. It is unacceptable for governments to continue to cower behind the inaction of the United States and other big polluters. Countries that have been bystanders in this process must bear the weight of their decisions and acknowledge their failure to follow the lead of the most vulnerable.”
Fanny Petitbon, Advocacy Manager, CARE France, said: “At COP24, Parties failed to reaffirm their commitments in the Paris Rulebook to respect and protect human rights in climate action. Despite the IPCC report’s findings on the severity of current and future impacts of climate change, vulnerable countries had to fight hard to achieve a very basic inclusion of addressing loss and damage in the rulebook, and the rules on future climate finance allows developed countries to take advantage of significant loopholes. We urge governments not to backslide on their commitments to human rights, gender, and the financial support to people most impacted.”
In 2019, the UN Secretary General will convene a climate summit. Following on the insufficient outcome at COP24, CARE urges countries to go home and put their energy into revising their national climate plans by 2020 towards faster emission cuts. Merely attending the summit – as reflected in the COP24 decision – will not be enough. Governments then must come to the summit ready to commit to increased ambition and scale-up finance to support developing countries to adapt to climate impacts and build resilience.
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