The 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP24, has concluded its 13-day series of negotiations and deliberations, hosted in the Polish city of Katowice. The conference focused on how the world will push forward in curbing human-generated carbon emissions in an effort to address the rapidly-growing threat imposed by the effects of global warming, and included agreements on how individual nations will measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions, with the new rules coming into effect in 2020.
These new rules, agreed to by 196 nations, set out a roadmap for the nuts-‘n-bolts regulations that will enforce the goal of preventing global average temperatures from climbing above 2°C over pre-industrial levels, as per the 2015 Paris Agreement. The new rulebook includes regulations governing the details on how countries are to cut carbon emissions, provide finance to poorer nations, and to ensure that transparency is maintained in the reporting of all nations’ efforts and emissions.
Conference scientists, delegates and attendees were shocked when representatives of the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait — all oil-producing counties — objected to the conference’s welcoming of a recent UN report calling for the need to keep global temperatures from rising to within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The objection led to the conference being forced to drop their acknowledgement of the report, much to the frustration of the rest of the representatives. "Climate science is not a political football," exclaimed Camilla Born, from the climate think tank E3G.
"Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change," renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough told the conference. "If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.
"The world’s people have spoken. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now," Attenborough continued. "Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands."