We’re heading into the second and final week of talks at this year’s COP24, the United Nations’ climate summit that will determine exactly how we reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and curb global warming.
Back in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report stating that the world is not doing enough to limit climate change and that we must keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-Industrial levels by 2100. To achieve this, greenhouse gas emissions must be slashed by 45 percent by 2030.
The target set out by the Paris Agreement was originally no more than 2°C (3.6°F) warming, but the IPCC report deemed this too lax, citing the many problems that would accompany this temperature rise – from the death of 99 percent of the world’s coral reefs to a vast amount of human suffering thanks to climate-induced poverty.
So, unsurprisingly, the IPCC report came up at COP24, which is taking place in Katowice, Poland. It’s clear that the report is important and that it should seriously be taken into account as leaders discuss how best to tackle climate change – something that legendary natural historian David Attenborough described as “our greatest threat in thousands of years” while speaking at the summit last week.
However, a motion to “welcome” the report at COP24 has been blocked, all thanks to four nations – Russia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the US. Rejecting the motion, these countries said the report should just be “noted”, making it much easier for them to ignore its findings and avoid acting upon them.
Although nearly 200 other nations were in favor of endorsing the IPCC report, the lack of unanimous support is preventing COP24 from doing so. Australia has also been described as a “de-facto supporter” of the four countries as it was particularly silent during the heated debates.