The 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, opened Monday, December 3, in the Polish City of Katowice.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Sir David Attenborough, a renowned broadcaster, described Climate Change as “humanity’s greatest threat in thousand years”.
The naturalist warned that Climate Change could result in the extinction of a great deal of the natural world as well as the collapse of civilisations.
Sir Attenborough duly announced the launch of the UN’s new campaign, which would enable individuals around the world to unite in actions to combat climate change.
Under the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) delegates and negotiations are expected to work hard to develop common guidelines to push countries to immediately cut emissions to achieve the 1.5°C temperature goal by 2020; and to deal with growing climate impacts.
As part of the Programme, action events would be held on human settlements, industry, transport, water, oceans and coastal zones, energy, and land use will convene.
There would also roundtables on key issues such as: Finance and Climate action; SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) and climate; SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and climate; resilience and climate action.
Land use, water and energy; oceans and coastal zones and transport; and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and climate would also be thoroughly discussed.
Ghana’s delegates from the Ministries of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Energy; the Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant fields are participating with their counterparts from less developed countries who, for lack of financial resources stand to suffer most from the effects of Climate Change.
Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group, said at the Preparatory Meeting ahead of the Conference that: “It has been a long road to Katowice since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, and there are still many hurdles to overcome to achieve a robust and fair set of guidelines to bring the Agreement to life.
“These guidelines need to push countries to immediately cut emissions to achieve the 1.5°C temperature goal and to deal with growing climate impacts. International cooperation is the only way to address the global threat of climate change.”
Referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) special report, released in October 2018, on the impacts of the global warming of 1.5°C, Mr. Endalew said, the IPCC report made it crystal clear that every bit of warming mattered, especially for the LDCs.
“It also gave some hope by confirming that limiting global warming to 1.5°C is still possible; here in Katowice, we must work constructively together to ensure that goal can become a reality,” he said
Mr. Endalew said the LDC Group was calling for a political declaration and a COP decision on the Talanoa Dialogue at COP24, which pushed for real action at the scale needed.
This is response to the Talanoa Dialogue, which was launched at COP23 in Bonn in 2017, with the aim of raising conversation in which countries would check the progress and seek to increase global ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
“It is now more critical than ever that all countries commit to doing their fair share of cutting emissions and providing the tools and resources required to address climate change.”
On Climate Finance, a key issue for the LDC Group, Mr. Endalew emphasised that the Paris Agreement could not be implemented without funds for developing countries to take action.
He said trillions of dollars in climate finance was, therefore, needed to cover the costs of adapting to climate change impacts, coping with loss and damage and pursuing clean development pathways to avoid emissions.
“In Katowice, countries need to agree on clear rules to ensure that adequate and predictable climate finance is provided. The longer poor countries have to wait, the larger the cost will become.”
Mr. Endalew declared, “Together the LDC Group represents almost one billion people. These are the people who are the least responsible for climate change but among those most vulnerable to its effects.
“Almost one billion people will be counting on the LDC Group to deliver in Katowice, to ensure the protection of their lives and their livelihoods now and in the future.”
Regarding the just-ended G20 Summit that took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, (30 Nov – 1 Dec), Mr. Endalew said: “Responsible for the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, the G20 countries must take the lead in the global response to climate change.
“At the upcoming summit, we expect G20 countries to demonstrate their commitment to the Paris Agreement and to taking the necessary action to limit warming to 1.5°C, including by moving forward with the Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan from last year.”
Ghana also has delegates from the Ministries of Mines and Natural Resources, Energy and Finance, as well as from the Natural Disaster Management Organisation, and the Forestry Commission.
The Conference ends on December 14.