KATOWICE, Poland (Reuters) – Climate change talks billed as the most important U.N. conference since the 2015 Paris global warming deal are in their last week in Katowice, capital of Poland’s coal mining district.
Below is a look at the latest mood round the event, in a sprawl of temporary passageways and rooms next to the Spodek, a flying-saucer-shaped venue on the site of the former Katowice coal mine.
The Polish presidency of the climate conference is expected to present a draft of the final package to include a rule book to implement the Paris pact, a deal on climate change finance, and another accord increasing ambitions to curb emissions.
The draft will be shown to delegates around 1600 GMT and ministers will endeavour to get an acceptable version by the end of the conference on Friday.
“The text should be getting cleaned up and we should see where the landing ground is for the different pieces of the package, but we are not there right now,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International.
“Every country here needs to take a step back and remember why we are here. Our very humanity is at stake.”
It remains unclear how delegates will finalise a deal to implement the Paris agreement – which aims to restrict warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times – and whether the package would take into consideration the latest U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
“If it is not sorted by Saturday, then it won’t be sorted,” a delegate said as corridor talk turned from how long into the weekend the talks may continue to whether they could collapse.
“TALKING, TALKING, TALKING”
Countries most vulnerable to climate change called for the conference to send a strong signal that ambitions to reduce global emissions should be enhanced by 2020.
But Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives, a nation threatened by climate change, said nothing seems to have changed since he last addressed a climate summit a decade ago.
“A whole dictionary of words has been born into these climate conferences. We go round and round and round with these words and end up not getting anywhere.
“Carbon emissions are rising, rising and rising and all we seem to be doing is talking, talking and talking.”
The Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petrol Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, was a top billing on the list of speakers.
But by the time he got on stage during the plenary on late Wednesday night, after a marathon session with over 100 speakers, there was barely a soul in the hall to hear him.
He said “unequivocally that the oil industry must remain and be part of the solution to the climate change challenge”, and that OPEC members also believe there is no plan B.
(Reporting by Bate Felix, Nina Chestney and Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)