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Climate change conference (COP24): Katowice, Poland

Published Thursday, November 29, 2018

This short House of Commons Library Briefing Paper provides a brief overview of the UN conference on climate change to be held in December 2018, including information on the Paris Agreement, the Talanoa Dialogue and the People's Seat.

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International conference on climate change

The UK has domestic commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to the Climate Change Act 2008 and is also part of an international effort to combat climate change.

On the international level, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted during the 1992 Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro. It entered into force in 1994 and has been ratified by 196 States (including the UK) which constitute the “Parties” to the Convention. The objective of the Treaty, set out in article 2 of the Convention, is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

Every year a Conference of the Parties takes place (known as COPs).

COP24

The 24th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP24) will be held on 2-14 December in Katowice, Poland. The key objective for COP24 is to agree and adopt a package of decisions to ensure the full implementation of the Paris Agreement (agreed at COP21). This is known formally as the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), or more informally as the Paris “rulebook”. The UNFCCC explains why this is a “crucial” step:

Specifically, the full implementation of the Paris Agreement means that practical actions will be unlocked with respect to all elements of the climate regime that countries are building:

adaptation to climate change impacts,

ambitious emission reductions,

with strong means of implementation to support developing countries, in the form of technology cooperation, capacity building, and, especially financial support.

Another key part of COP24 will be the Talanoa Dialogue. This Briefing Paper sets out further information on the Paris Agreement and the Talanoa Dialogue. 

The Polish Presidency has provided the following overview of its objectives for COP24:

  • Poland’s objective is to maintain the global character of the Paris Agreement, the voluntary choice of the method for limiting emissions, as well as the shaping of climate and energy policies depending on the possibilities and specific conditions in terms of raw materials and geography (using own natural resources).

The Polish Presidency plans to focus its message on three key themes:

  • Technology: development of climate-friendly modern solutions, such as electromobility;
  • Man: solidary and just transition of industrial regions;
  • Nature: achieving climate neutrality by absorbing CO2 by forests and land, or by water management.

Current information on the conference, including the timetable of events and the latest news, is available on the UNFCCC pages on COP24.  The UNFCCC also has an online platform which provides the latest status of the Paris Agreement Work Programme.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8450

Author: Sara Priestley

Topic: Climate change

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