COP24 starts today, the IPCC has published new scientific evidence on the devastating impacts of climate change, the probability that those changes will be manageable are decreasing, and, once again, there is a stalemate in international climate negotiations. Time is running out fast - or more appropriately, as UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa stressed, time is a luxury we no longer have. So, actually the question is how soon is now?
Or, in other words, can we turn our attention during the climate conference more towards the approaches that the climate community is already delivering on today instead of getting lost in the details of the “Paris Rulebook”, which should be one of the major outcomes of the negotiations in Katowice?
No doubt, the rules to be agreed will be another milestone in the young history of the Paris Agreement, but it requires some fantasy to imagine how more than 300 pages of draft text can be transformed into a document to guide implementation. In the meantime, it may be worth watching out for some good news on the negotiations corridors in Poland about the ideas needed to flesh out the Paris architecture.
This is especially important looking to 2019 when countries need to come up with ambitious ideas for their updated emission reductions pledges to contribute to closing the emissions gap outlined by the just published UNEP report: “According to scenarios factoring in current policy and NDC’s, global emissions are not estimated to peak by 2030, let alone by 2020.” Another reason to point out that action now does really mean now - and not soon.
There are only a few weeks to go before international and local leaders from states, regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society travel to the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco to create a new wave of mobilization. As Earth is at risk of entering a situation of extreme conditions, those going must bring along more than just flowers in their hair.
Three years after the talks that delivered the Paris Agreement, the world is gathering in Poland to take stock of the progress that has been made and to raise its ambitions. But as new nationalist leaders take power, has the world lost its appetite for climate action?