The world will gather during 3 – 14 December 2018 in the beautiful Polish city of Katowice to discuss climate change at COP24. COP refers to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Last year, at COP23, the dialogue was renamed Talanoa Dialogue. The goal remains the same: to assess the impact of countries’ efforts to maintain or reduce their global emissions to meet the Paris Agreement target of 2°C.
The main objective of COP24 is to embrace and endorse “Katowice Action Plan for the Just Energy Transition”. The key points are:
- Collect information regarding workers and communities in transition
- Create guidelines for climate policies in different countries
- Embrace fair transition, decent work, creation and maintenance of quality jobs in climate policies
- Encourage entities in charge of climate finance with a mandate to participate in job-creating projects in countries in transition to a low-carbon economy
In fact, we are in a desperate need to change the classic energy system based on fossil fuels and transition to a low-carbon economy. However, transforming the global energy system towards low-carbon alternatives must be accompanied with a commitment to guarantee social justice for all.
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: supporting achieving climate neutrality by absorbing CO2 by forests and land, or by water management.
The conversation about climate change brings different perspectives on the discussion table. On October 6, 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report in support of a global response to keep global warming to less than 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. The report provides a clear warning and incite to act fact and in a decisive way.
Unprecedented Climate Future
Climate scientists have given deadline of a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target. These changes are according to the report are affordable and feasible.
According the German scientist Hans-Otti Pôrtner in an interview with Grist: “If action is not taken, it will take the planet into an unprecedented climate future if we compare to what has happen in all of human evolutionary history. Climate change is shaping the future of our civilization”. The world is heading now at the current pace for 3.4 degrees and it has just over a decade to get climate change under control.
The 0.50C difference between the Paris Agreement and the recent alarming IPCC report has a huge impact on the life on earth. According to the Guardian, at 20C extremely hot days, such as those experienced in the northern hemisphere this summer, would become more severe and common, increasing heat-related deaths and causing more forest fires. But the greatest difference would be to nature. Insects, which are vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2C compared with 1.5C. Corals would be 99% lost at the higher of the two temperatures, but more than 10% have a chance of surviving if the lower target is reached.
However, there is a big difference between the agreements on paper and the projects established in real life. Policy makers cannot keep their promises, and big corporations and lobbyists usually influence decisions. Officials and decision makers should listen to the voice of the people to make a real change and contribute to the achievement of the agreements.
Demands of the People
Countries and industries that are most responsible for emitting greenhouse gases must be hold accountable for their actions. These big corporations and industrial countries should be forced to change their strategies and pay their fair share of a global, just and equitable transition to a low-carbon energy sources and even to a fossil fuel-free future. They are the main reason of the degradation of the health of our planet that is affecting communities globally.
Activists around the world are asking for serious change in policies managing climate change issues. Recently, a new movement created and launched by a dozen of climate organizations around the world called People’s Demands has seen light. This new platform is giving voice to people around the world to express their demands and requirements in terms of environmental protection. The aim behind this movement is to give voice to the people and highlight their demands in order to be heard and taken into consideration in the policy making process.
In general, the people are focused on the termination of activities participating in global warming and climate change crises and the implementation of effective and efficient solutions to correct and repair the damages done to the environment.
The key demands of the people are:
- No fossil fuels:
- Reject false solutions
- Advance solutions that are feasible, just and essential
- Honor climate finance obligations for developing countries
- End corporate interference in and capture of climate change
- Developed countries must honor their “Fair shares” for largely fueling climate change
The list of people demands is launched on the official website www.peoplesdemands.org, it is open for signature to stand with people across the world and immediately take steps to address the climate crisis.
It is addressed to Government representatives to the 24th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP24) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.