World news

Diplomats at UN climate talks agree on reporting emissions

Michal Kurtyka, a senior Polish official chairing the negotiations, poses for a photo after adopting the final agreement during a closing session of the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland. Picture by Czarek Sokolowski, Associated Press
By Associated Press Reporters

OFFICIALS from around the world have agreed upon a set of rules to govern the 2015 Paris climate accord after two weeks of UN talks in Poland.

Michal Kurtyka, a Polish official chairing the talks in Katowice, sealed the deal on Saturday after diplomats and ministers from almost 200 countries approved.

The UN talks were meant to provide firm guidelines for countries on how to transparently report their greenhouse gas emissions and their efforts to reduce them.

Scientists say emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide need to drop sharply by 2030 to prevent potentially catastrophic global warming.

The meeting postponed decisions on pledging more ambitious action to fight global warming and on regulating the market for international carbon emissions trading.

Mr Kurtyka said: "Through this package, you have made a thousand little steps forward together."

He said while each individual country would be likely to find some parts of the agreement it did not like, efforts had been made to balance the interests of all parties.

He added: "We will all have to give in order to gain. We will all have to be courageous to look into the future and make yet another step for the sake of humanity."

The talks took place against a backdrop of growing concern among scientists that global warming on Earth is proceeding faster than governments are responding to it. Last month, a study found that global warming will worsen disasters such as the deadly California wildfires and the powerful hurricanes that hit the United States this year.

And a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, concluded that while it is possible to cap global warming at 1.5C by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, this would require a dramatic overhaul of the global economy, including a shift away from fossil fuels.

Alarmed by efforts to include this in the final text of the meeting, the oil-exporting nations of the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait blocked an endorsement of the IPCC report mid-way through this month's talks. That prompted an uproar from vulnerable countries like small island nations and environmental groups.

The final text at the UN talks omits a previous reference to specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and merely welcomes the "timely completion" of the IPCC report, not its conclusions.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

World news

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: