Katowice (Poland), Dec 12 (IANS) As the crucial multilateral climate negotiations by 197 nations draw closer to finale with the possibility of “weak” outcomes, UN chief Antonio Guterres is expected to join talks on Wednesday for evolving rules for implementing the Paris agreement.
While Guterres will have no direct role in the negotiations, his presence was expected to help nudge the talks towards a positive conclusion, say negotiators.
A day earlier, UN’s climate chief Patricia Espinosa and other top UN officials made passionate pleas to governments to finish the work they set for themselves and conclude the summit with an effective outcome.
The main objective of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP24, is to finalize the implementation guidelines of the landmark 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.
“He (Guterres) is coming back because he understands how important this is. He wants to do everything he can to make it absolutely clear what leadership looks like and what the expectation is,” a post quoting UN Special Envoy for Sustainable Energy Rachel Kyte said.
Amid the presence of 100 ministers in Katowice to provide political guidance, Espinosa said on Tuesday: “Many political divisions remain. Many issues still must be overcome.
“But I believe it’s within our grasp to finish the job. Let’s complete the Paris agreement work programme,” she said.
Climate negotiators told IANS that Espinosa’s plea came in the wake of sharp differences between the rich and poor countries over climate finance, transfer of technology, capacity building and mitigation.
“The developed countries have effectively taken a stand that the differentiation between the developed and developing countries can no longer be operationalized in the Paris rulebook,” one negotiator said.
With 2018 chosen by the parties themselves as the deadline for the adoption of implementation guidelines or a “work programme” to move forward with, the 197 parties of the UN Climate Chance Convention were gathered to agree on how they will achieve the Paris commitments collectively, build trust between nations and bring the 2015 agreement to life.
Last week, the four big oil and gas producers — the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait — faced off against every other country who wanted to formally “welcome” in the UN text the landmark 1.5 degrees Celsius IPCC report that focussed on urgency and also scaled up ambition by the world.
The US stood alone among the world’s countries in refusing to endorse the findings of the report.
India-based independent public research and advocacy think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Tuesday said “it is clear now that the talks are progressing towards a weak outcome”.
Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan of the CSE, one of the observers, told IANS that it was better to have no rulebook for the Paris agreement than a weak and incomplete rulebook.
“By blocking progress on climate finance, rich countries are backtracking on previous commitments,” Global Lead on Climate Change at ActionAid Harjeet Singh said.
(Vishal Gulati is in Katowice at the invitation of Climate Trends to cover the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP24. He can be contacted at [email protected])