24th Climate Change Conference will start in Katowice in three weeks
The next UN Climate Change Conference (COP 24) will take place in Katowice, Poland from 3 to 14 December. Policy-makers and scientific experts will hold a briefing at the Federal Foreign Office today, informing participants about what to expect during the two weeks of negotiations and discussing implementation rules for the Paris Agreement and lessons from the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Under the Polish Presidency, delegates of COP 24 will adopt the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, a kind of manual for implementing the international agreement in the countries that have signed it. The rulebook will also specify how countries’ emissions can be measured and verified in a transparent way. The Federal Environment Ministry will be represented at the briefing by Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter.
There are still significant gaps between the targets adopted, i.e. limiting global warming to well below two degrees or to 1.5 degrees if possible, the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The latest special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes this very clear. Upon the request of many contracting parties, the IPCC was encouraged in the Paris Agreement to compile the latest scientific findings on global warming of 1.5 degrees. The Panel found that only rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of our society will allow the global community to reach the 1.5 degree target. If global warming continues at the current rate, it will reach 1.5 degrees at some point in the 2040s.
The IPCC report provides important input to the Talanoa Dialogue, a forum in which ministers discuss how the international community can step up its climate action efforts. At the briefing in Berlin today, two experts will present the report: IPCC chair Hoesung Lee, who is speaking in Germany for the first time since becoming chair of the Panel, and his German colleague Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chair of IPCC working group II on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
Under the heading "From Talanoa to Action" more than 200 participants from the diplomatic corps, industry, the scientific community and civil society will come together in Berlin to exchange views at the event organised jointly by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the German Climate Consortium (DKK), an association representing German climate research institutes.
Statements from the experts
Walter J. Lindner, State Secretary, Federal Foreign Office: "The adoption of the Paris Agreement was a high point in the history of multilateralism. The COP in Katowice should now send the signal that the international community is joining forces to advance implementation of the Agreement. According to the latest IPCC report, which is a true wake-up call, we have 10, maybe 20 years left for a radical political shift. If we do not succeed in limiting global warming, the consequences will be too severe for many countries to bear. In terms of Germany’s foreign policy, this means that we should interlink climate and foreign policy even more closely in order to ensure security and peace."
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: "I expect COP 24 in Katowice to be a clear signal by the international community for more climate action. Now is the time to breathe life into the Paris Agreement. We therefore need a robust set of rules that gives all parties clarity on how to implement the Agreement. The goal of the Talanoa Dialogue is to take stock of where the international community stands with regard to global emissions, where it should be and how it can raise the level of ambition."
Prof. Dr Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC: "The new IPCC special report shows that it is not impossible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. However, achieving this target will require unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. It is also closely connected with other global goals such as sustainable development and poverty eradication."
Prof. Dr Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chair of Working Group II "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" of the IPCC and marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute: "From a scientific perspective, there is a strong case for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. This would give humankind the opportunity to protect biodiversity and preserve important foundations for health, food supply and wellbeing on this planet. In the new IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Cesluis, the scientific community has put the facts on the table, thus providing important guidance for the climate change conference in Katowice."