24th International Climate Change Conference in the Polish city of Katowice

Concrete steps agreed

At the COP24 United Nations Climate Change Conference in the Polish city of Katowice, the international community has agreed on concrete steps to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. In the rulebook, over 190 states have laid out regulations on transparency and reporting obligations in particular.

Over the heads of the audience is a platform with several people, and the UN and Polish flags. Behind them a large sign reads "COP24 Katowice - United Nations Climate Change Conference - Poland 2018"

In the Polish city of Katowice, concrete steps were agreed for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change

Photo: Xinhua / eyevine / laif

Alongside the measures agreed, in the final text the international community also welcomed the latest special report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which calls for more decisive action to achieve the 1.5 °Celsius target. Here are the resolutions in detail:

1) To ensure that progress on reducing CO2 emissions is comparable for all states, there will in future be harmonised standards and transparency regulations. A transitional phase will apply for countries of the global South, to enable them to put in place the technical preconditions.

2) Between 2020 and 2025 the industrialised states intend to provide a sum of 100 billion US dollars every year, to support the countries of the global South in the fight against climate change. This sum was already agreed in Paris. Now it has been decided that even before 2025 a new, higher financing target should be set. The industrialised states have also undertaken to report once every two years on the financial assistance they are providing, to give the countries receiving support a secure base on which to plan.

3) In Katowice, the participating states reaffirmed the resolution adopted in Paris, to review their national contributions to reducing CO2 emissions every five years as of 2020, and to enhance these contributions where possible. Minimum standards have now been laid down regarding the mandatory information contents, to ensure comparability.

The success of climate change mitigation measures too is to be measured and reported in line with standard rules in future. As of 2022, the new standards are to apply for industrialised countries and as of 2024 also for emerging economies and developing countries. Global greenhouse gas emissions will then be measured against comparable standards and reported in a transparent fashion to the United Nations.

Over and above this, a "coalition of the ambitious", including the EU and thus also Germany, and a number of threatened island states, have announced that they will be taking additional steps to raise their climate targets.

4) In Paris it was decided that, two years before national measures are updated, it should be examined at global level whether overall the goals of the agreement are being achieved (known as the "Talanoa Dialogue", formerly termed the "Global Stocktake"). In Katowice it was determined which information will be incorporated in this stocktaking, to ensure that as complete and realistic an image as possible is produced. Damage and losses caused by climate change are now also to be recorded, which will benefit in particular the island states threatened by rising sea levels.

Every year, the state parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meet at a UN Climate Change Conference. It is also known in shorthand as COP - Conference of the Parties. Under the provisions of the convention, all industrialised countries undertook to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This is the third time the conference has been held in Poland. In 2008 it was hosted by Poznan and in 2013 by Warsaw.

German government steps up its international engagement

During the second week of the Climate Change Conference, the German government pledged to step up its engagement in the fight against climate change: Germany is to provide another 68 million euros to support the global partnership to implement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), thus helping emerging economies and developing countries. The pledge was announced by the Federal Development Ministry and the Federal Environment Ministry. A sum of 48 million euros is to come from the budget of the Federal Development Ministry and 20 million euros from the Federal Environment Ministry.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze stressed, "The implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, is at the heart of the Paris Agreement. The NDC Partnership enables participating states to support one another, share experience and lessons learned, and encourage one another.

Since it was founded by Morocco and Germany in 2016, the "NDC Partnership" has been extended to cover 70 developing nations and emerging economies, 17 industrialised states and 20 international organisations.

Germany contributes an additional 70 million euros to Adaptation Fund

In the second week of the climate negotiations, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze pledged that the Federal Environment Ministry would provide an additional 70 million euros for the Adaptation Fund. "Our support for the fund is a sign of our solidarity. The people who suffer most under climate change are those who have done the least to cause it."

The Adaptation Fund supports those worst affected directly on the ground with innovative and effective projects. So far, the Fund has approved over 80 projects and programmes with a total volume of 532 million US dollars. Applications have been received for another 45 projects worth around 335 million US dollars.


Germany’s national contributions

The German government expressly affirms its commitment to the climate targets laid out in the Paris Agreement on climate change. To this end it has agreed on packages of measures and targets for all sectors in its Climate Action Plan 2050. To implement this plan in full it intends to pass legislation in 2019, that is intended to ensure compliance with the 2030 climate action targets.

Last year the German government invested a total of 3.65 billion euros in international climate change mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

To achieve the climate targets, the generation of electricity from coal will have to be gradually phased out. That will bring with it structural and economic changes, which is why the German government established the Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment, also known as the Coal Commission in June. It is to draw up a roadmap for phasing out coal and driving forward with structural change.

Germany is also working at international level to have the price of CO2 emissions set at trans-national level. That is also stipulated in the coalition agreement.

Doubling pledges to Green Climate Fund

As the COP24 started, the German government also pledged to double its funding for the Green Climate Fund to 1.5 billion euros. This sum will be provided as of 2019.

The Green Climate Fund promotes mitigation and adaptation measures in emerging economies and developing countries, including the large-scale expansion of the use of renewables and the implementation of low-emission mobility concepts. The focus is on support for the least developed countries, small island states and African states

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