Breakthrough at COP24 Climate Change

White smoke sighted at COP24 Climate change talks as delegates reach a consensus on contentious issues


The ‘Katowice package’ sets a way to decide on new, more ambitious funding targets from 2025 onwards, from the current commitment to mobilize US$100 billion per year as of 2020.

The UN Climate change talks in Katowice Poland came to a close late on Saturday night after a three-day standoff pitting delegates from the industrialised and developed nations.

The three-day stalemate confirmed by Kenya’s Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Keriako Tobiko focused on contentious issues relating to finance, loss and damage, and creation of a new carbon trading market.

The highly contentious issue of a new carbon trading market, Tobiko said, had been deferred for further consideration at the next COP 25 conference, to be held in Chile next year.

Following the conference plenary closure late Saturday night, the delegates adopted the ‘Katowice package’ which is a new set of climate change guidelines and rulebook to accelerate national action plans.

The two-week-long 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commonly known as COP 24 had been scheduled to conclude on Friday, but negotiators including CS Tobiko had been unable to reach a compromise agreement despite endless rounds of negotiations and back-room diplomacy.

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Speaking from Katowice, Poland, Tobiko confirmed that the negotiators had finally managed to reach what he described as a “robust” set of implementing guidelines for the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement. The guidelines agreed at COP 24 include key agreements on programmes financing for projects aimed at keeping global warming below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

“Following a round of three sleepless nights, I am glad to confirm that the COP 24 talks have come to a close with a number of compromise arrangements for the earlier contentious issues,” Tobiko said, adding that, “The Africa Group of Negotiators, has literally been burning the midnight oil seeking to advance our unique interests and we have made significant headway with the adoption of the ‘Katowice package’ late on Saturday night.”

At the conference, the Kenya Government had cited access to predictable and adequate funding options, as a key challenge frustrating the implementation of climate change action plans in developing countries.

“Access to new, additional, predictable and adequate climate finance is critical for developing country Parties to implement their priority adaptation and mitigation actions and meet their obligations under the Convention and the Paris Agreement. The time for action is now. Let us all rise to the occasion. Let us save Our Planet.” Tobiko said.

On the financing element, which was a sticking issue from developed countries in support of climate action in developing countries, the ‘Katowice package’ sets a way to decide on new, more ambitious targets from 2025 onwards, from the current commitment to mobilize US$100 billion per year as of 2020.

Germany and Norway also announced expanded financial commitments for climate action, both, pledging to double their contributions to the Green Climate Fund, established to enable developing countries to act. The World Bank also announced it would increase its commitment to climate action after 2021 to $200 billion; the climate Adaptation Fund received a total of $129 million.

The ‘Katowice package’ also features a detailed transparency framework, meant to promote trust among nations regarding the fact that they are all doing their part in addressing climate change. It sets out how countries will provide information about their national action plans, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as mitigation and adaptation measures.

An agreement was also reached on how to uniformly count greenhouse gas emissions and if poorer countries feel they cannot meet the standards set, they can explain why and present a plan to build up their capacity in that regard.

While presenting the Kenyan experience in climate change management, Tobiko disclosed that the local (Kenyan) economy is shedding more than 2% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually due to climate change.

Such economic losses, he said have driven the Kenya Government to put in place measures to ensure low carbon climate resilient development at all levels.

Addressing the High Level segment of the conference, last week, Tobiko stressed the need for adequate and predictable financing instruments to accelerate climate change action plans.

“Access to new, additional, predictable and adequate climate finance is critical for developing country Parties to implement their priority adaptation and mitigation actions and meet their obligations under the Convention and the Paris Agreement. The time for action is now. Let us all rise to the occasion. Let us save Our Planet.” Tobiko said.

In recognition of the serious threats posed by climate change, the government, Tobiko said through various agencies including the National Treasury has been leading the process of developing financial instruments for climate proofing vulnerable sectors of the economy.

“This we plan to do through issuance of Sovereign Green Bonds, establishment of the National Treasury as the National Designated Authority (NDA) for Green Climate Fund (GCF), establishment of the Climate Change Fund (CCF) and the Disaster Risk Financing Strategy all aimed at cushioning the economy from fiscal risks arising from the effects of climate related shocks and natural disasters,” Tobiko said.

Alongside funding, Tobiko pointed it out that individual states cannot manage to comprehensively address climate change. International cooperation; international cooperative initiatives; shared responsibilities and solidarity, he said will remain vital components, if we are to combat climate change.