The UN’s COP24 climate talks in the Silesian mining city of Katowice are still reportedly far from agreeing how future climate action will be funded through a common rulebook.
The Polish hosts have also been criticised for seeking permission to continue using coal, the most polluting fossil fuel.
Poland’s Cop24 president Michał Kurtyka held late-night talks on establishing a rulebook for the 2015 Paris agreement.
“Yes, we are progressing, we can achieve success here in Katowice, yes, we can implement the Paris agreement,” Kurtyka said. “I ask you to move forward as soon as possible … so we can achieve a meaningful outcome tonight. We do not have the comfort of time, but we have the will and we have the power to achieve an outcome.”
Kurtyka issued a series of fresh drafts as the two-week conference neared its scheduled end today (Friday).
Diplomats and ministers discussed the wording overnight, covering issues such as how countries will measure both their greenhouse emissions and efforts to reduce them.
Along with the Paris agreement rulebook, the other main issue at the talks involves financial support for developing countries to combat and adapt to climate change.
“We are bearing the torch for those vulnerable to climate change,” Hilda Heine, president of the low-lying Marshall Islands, told the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24).
“We represent a number of nations, like my own, that face extinction. Species of all kinds also face existential risk.”
Mohamed Adow, a climate activist at Christian Aid, said financial support seemed to be moving in the right direction but the overall outcome of COP24 was uncertain.
Developing countries say the rich, industrial nations should pay for damage already caused by global warming, arguing that they are to blame for the bulk of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“Real action requires real money for real solutions,” said Adow. “The European Union needs to separate itself from the laggards like Australia, Japan and the United States.”
The UK and Canada have persuaded several US cities and states to join a coal phase-out alliance and have asked Australia to sign up.
Despite Australia proposing government subsidies for coal generation this week, Sydney and Melbourne, along with Scotland, Senegal and Israel, joined the post-coal alliance.
UK climate minister Claire Perry said London was bidding to host UN climate talks in 2020 alongside Turkey, Italy and UAE.
“We are seeing deadlock in certain areas,” Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate, told the media.
“We need to avoid straying from principles and spirit of the Paris agreement. We cannot accept any backsliding.”
Australia is divided over coal use. Picture credit: Wikimedia