COP24: A fragile geopolitical balance between hope and despair
The United Nations Conference on Climate Change, better known as COP24, was held from 3 to 15 December of this year in Katowice, Poland.
This annual meeting is an international event that brings together hundreds of institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, activists, foundations and people from around the world around a common cause, the global environmental problem. In that sense, the 24th edition of the Conference of the Parties concluded last Saturday is important for two fundamental aspects: The latest report published by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) on the increase in global temperature by 1.5 ° C in relation to the pre-industrial era; that marks a before and after in terms of the scientific basis and accumulation of evidence on climate change and its effects was to be adopted.
The publication of the last report of the panel, that the same COP that invites to carry out such studies, represents the definitive defeat of the negationist current used by authorities like the president of the United States -Donald Trump- to delegitimize the importance about the topic. The second aspect has to do with the Paris agreement signed 3 years ago in this same negotiation space, at the headquarters of the French capital. This document establishes an effective reduction that represents at least 55% of global emissions of greenhouse gases, a measure that begins to be effective as of 2020.
In relation to the participation of the countries, we see that there are two very different blocks in terms of their positioning.
The conservative block , politically correct, but lacking real commitment to the pending agenda of the climate struggle, basically its own market interests prevail. The second is the block that defends the effective fulfillment of the Paris agreement, and that knows that ambitions must increase in the next decade if we really want to avoid reaching the point of no return, from which the Earth-System will not be able to return to its normal condition (regeneration process) and where the ability of human predictability on its effects will be completely zero. To this block belongs the countries that joint the “High Ambition Coalition”, a group of countries that committed to reach higher reduction of emissions to 2030.On this element the diatribes that led to a very diplomatic formulation of acceptance, in order to fight the resistance of the opposing countries, were not lacking.The IPCC report was NOT included in the final document of the COP event because four countries do not agree with the inclusion of the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The reasons seem more than obvious: they are not willing to give up their energy matrix for the global fight against climate. In this sense, it is evident that the most important and influential authorities in the world have no interest in supporting themselves in the science that they finance and defend, limiting themselves to having empirical evidence as a reference, and not as the central support. of the climate action plan.
As a remarkable point of these two weeks of negotiation in Poland, was the leading participation of the island countries, who were present in the working committees and decision spaces actively. Proof of this was the intervention of Maldives in the final plenary of the event where he warned that “we are only 12 years of being able to reach 1.5 ° C and that the effects of global warming will affect countries unevenly, so it is necessary take more severe and effective measures. ” The situation of island countries such as the Pacific Islands and their different Confederations is extremely serious because accompanied by the increase in temperature the sea level will also rise, causing the collapse of isolated territories and the death of entire communities, all this It can occur after 2030, according to the latest IPCC report.
The countries with the highest degree of climatic vulnerability are Egypt and Ethiopia, who spoke on behalf of the G77 + China, questioning the lack of commitment of the developed countries towards the fulfillment of the agreements already agreed by the Parties, such as the Paris agreement. In the same way, Malaysia has expressed its discontent for not having addressed the concept of Climate Equality in a holistic way, understanding that all countries deserve the cooperation of multilateralism and that the geographical size of the country should not be a criterion for prioritizing support or financing by the international organization.
Perhaps the most representative point of the COP24 has to do with the issue of Transparency, since from now – the Transparency Framework – a set of binding rules is established for all countries to submit periodic reports in relation to the climatic actions adopted. In addition, each country will have the obligation to present a National Adaptation Plan detailing all the actions planned for the next years and the procedures used to comply with it. Both points are unprecedented in the multilateral agreements prior to the one approved in Katowice by the 197 countries present.
At the same time, the Platform of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities was created, which represents an important step in the consolidation of a permanent space of participation and synergy with the other representations of the Convention, which aims to take into account the holistic vision of ancestral peoples as guardians of nature. This space will be composed of communities from the seven socio-cultural regions of the world, and will meet twice a year to implement a Work Plan for 2020. In the same way, the intervention of the Representations of Women and Gender had a great prominence in Poland. The role of women in the different axes of Climate Change such as water, agriculture, food security, biodiversity and others is gaining the collective recognition of organizations and has its own agenda for the future.However – despite the fact that a global financing of 5.5 billion dollars was approved for the implementation of 93 proposals for financing for adaptation and mitigation in 96 developing countries – the COP24 did not live up to the expectations of the group of environmental organizations, research institutions, indigenous communities, local people, young people and activists who attended the event from all regions of the world.The Women and Gender Constituency’s actions were very strong and said that there is no reference to human rights in the text, in spite of the many meetings and proposals on this point.
Also YOUNGO – the international constituent that brings together young people from everyone, stood in front of the world leaders reiterating that “they are far from being ambitious” and “compromise the future of future generations”, “our future” they said.
However, although the Paris agreement is in force, there is no guide to how this set of good intentions can be transformed into concrete actions after 2020, above all in terms of the systematic reduction of gas emissions , that nowadays are inevitable product of the economic matrix of several states parties. Secondly, because many institutions and organizations that know that the effects of climate change are already causing serious social and environmental problems around the world, hoped that this edition of the Conference would show a much more ambitious scenario for the future, what it means to build – at least from the rhetoric – agreements more drastic than the Paris agreement itself. And finally, because the final document does not include the IPCC report as the central support of the Katowice Agreement, which has a deep political implication. Yes, although it is difficult to digest, the minority is still able to overcome the needs of humanity.
In this sense, the COP25 hosted by Chile will be the cornerstone for global climate adaptation, not only because it is the last opportunity to establish the times and forms of what was signed in Paris, but because it is urgent to live up to it. the biggest challenge in our history. Issues related to mitigation, specifically to the market and carbon credits have been postponed to be resolved in this next edition. Latin America, the most biodiverse region on Earth, will once again receive the United Nations authorities in the lead-up to what may be the last decade of climate stability on the planet. It is urgent that our local, peasant, indigenous, social and citizen organizations take this fact as an opportunity to change the course of the COP towards a truly sustainable future and at the service of the next generations.