As the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened on Sunday, December 2, 2018 in Katowice, Poland, nations have been told to deepen their ambition towards addressing challenges associated with global warming.
Johan Rockström, Designated Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), who gave the charge, stated that parties at COP24 should explore avenues related to how to cut global emissions by half by 2030.
He said: “It is no longer if but how to deliver results aligned with science – the scientific verdict is clear, global emissions must be cut by half by 2030 to stand a chance of staying well below 2 degrees Celsius. The UN climate summit in Katowice cannot and will not discuss if governments worldwide must achieve rapid greenhouse-gas emission reductions to limit climate risks, but how they can do this.
“First, governments must ramp up ambition. All nationally determined contributions, the NDC plans, must urgently be racheted up and align themselves with the latest science assessments. Current plans take us to a disastrous plus-three-degree world. They need deep, sector by sector, quantitative revisions.
“Secondly, fair and effective rules for accounting must be established with special responsibilities for the big emitters such as the US and Europe but also China and India; while defining a rule book sounds boring, it is in fact essential.
“Thirdly, change must be financed. The Green Climate Fund needs reliable and substantial contributions from industrialised countries, and in the same time it must define strict rules for payments to countries – for instance, establishing CO2 pricing could become a condition for receiving money that then can be used to boost regional renewable energy production.”
According to Rockström, the world faces a decisive decade, potentially the make-it-or-break-it for its chance of securing a manageable climate for future generations.
“Governments today might be remembered for generations to come if they fail to fulfill their climate stabilisation promises. Because generations to come would suffer from weather extremes, health impacts, crop yield risks. Science clearly shows that we have just one decade to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. Which is why we must start doing it now,” he added.