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COP24: Was any progress made in the fight against rising temperatures?

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COP24 Climate conference wraps up
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Reuters
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Today is the last day of the COP 24 climate conference but talks are expected to continue throughout the weekend to produce a "rulebook" that outlines how the Paris Agreement would be carried out.

For the past two weeks, 183 nations gathered in Katowice, Poland, to negotiate how to meet the targets set in Paris in 2015 by limiting temperature rises to no more than 1.5 degrees Celcius under the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The framework on how to achieve this pact has been a sticking point in negotiations.

"This text embeds the IPCC’s 1.5C report and recognises that (commitments) need to be updated by 2020 but fails to commit countries here and now to ramping up action," said Jennifer Morgan, executive director at Greenpeace International.

Loss and damage fund

Less developed countries more vulnerable to climate change wanted a mechanism to find ways to cover the growing costs of "loss and damage" caused by richer nations' emissions targets and climate finance.

One of those nations calling for such a fund was the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.

"The idea of taxing the fossil fuel industry is an economically sensible approach, and a moral approach," said Vanuatu's foreign minister, Ralph Regenvanu.

Before the talks, Vanuatu announced it would explore taking legal action against fossil fuel companies and countries for their role in causing climate change.

Rich versus poor

The US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have said they will not be changing their climate policy. This is a concern for many climate campaigners who protested throughout the week calling on developed nations to follow through with their financial commitments for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) — a $100 billion (€88 billion) pledge made by rich nations to aid poorer nations in tackling climate change. However, these nations are calling for clear indicators on how these financial commitments would be met.

Fears

Delegates feared the deal would fall short but there were signs of hope on Friday when compromises were made in tweaking the language of the agreement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he told the Polish presidency that it was important to conclude work "with the highest possible level of ambition".

"It's essential for me that Katowice is not a failure. The worst thing that could happen to us is that. There would be the idea of chaos, the idea that to a certain extent we would be reproducing in Katowice what happened in Copenhagen."

Talks at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference were widely regarded as a failure as they ended with a bare-minimum agreement. It took six more years to clinch a deal in Paris.

REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
People attend a Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice demonstration before the final session of the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, December 14, 2018REUTERS/Kacper Pempel