Decisions taken at the Climate Change Conference of Katowice

The Conference aimed at establishing the rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to draw conclusions from the IPPC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the so-called “Talanoa Dialogue”.

Thanks to the decided negotiation management by the EU and other progressive groups this goal has been achieved. With the exception of the rules for a common carbon market, for which negotiations need to be continued in 2019, a comprehensive and robust set of rules which is supported by all countries and makes the requirements and goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement achievable has been created. Above all, the integrity of the Paris Agreement has been maintained although many large emerging countries and the Arab Group tried to undo it.

The Rulebook

After three years of intensive negotiations the following decisions have been adopted, among others:

  1. Rules for the revision of the nationally determined reduction contributions.
  2. A uniform and transparent reporting system (with easements for the poorer countries of the world) concerning greenhouse gas emissions, climate protection as well as adaptation measures in order to ensure, among others, that data are comparable, are documented and become verifiable.
  3. Rules for the global stocktake which will be first conducted in 2023 and after that will be carried out every 5 years; after that the national contributions are to be improved.
  4. Design of the control regime with a committee which is to monitor compliance with the Agreement of Paris.
  5. Further steps concerning the expansion of international climate change financing. For example, the future of the Adaptation Fund has been clarified, which will also continue under the Paris Agreement.
  6. Inclusion of the compatibility of global financial flows in the climate objectives of Paris in future implementation.
  7. Development of a register for non-developed countries (NDCs) and for reports on adaptation measures.

The agreement (adopted by consensus of all contracting parties) must be assessed as positive and, as regards the set of rules ("Katowice Rulebook”), the outcome of this year’s international climate change conference is really something to be proud of. Except for the market rules, also the required technical details have been determined for all topics.

Swift action needed

In addition to the Rulebook, also the so-called “Talanoa Dialogue” was held at the COP24. At the political level the progress towards the Paris Climate Goal was evaluated. The Talanoa Dialogue ended with a broad-based call for swift action.

Taking everything into account, the outcome of Katowice well exceeded expectations, which we owe also to the cautious negotiation management by the Polish COP President, Michal Kurtyka. All parties to the agreement have been kept on board.

Holding the EU Council Presidency, Austria played a particularly responsible role at this Climate Change Conference, represented (together with the European Commission) the EU and its 28 Member States to the outside world and ensured that the EU talked with one voice.

The European Union has made a vital contribution to the progress achieved in global climate protection. The responsibility is taken seriously. Nobody can accuse Europe of not taking efforts far exceeding its own responsibilities. Europe causes only 10% of the emissions, but contributes 40% to climate financing.

Austria supported the three declarations presented by Poland - the Declaration on Solidarity and Just Transition, the Declaration on Forests for Climate and the Partnership for Electromobility Declaration - and joined a call of the so-called "High Ambition Coalition" which, in addition to almost all Member States of the European Union, is also supported by for example Switzerland, Norway and many advanced developing countries. This call once again emphasised the urgent necessity for action for the purposes of the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C.

The next Global Climate Change Conference (25th meeting of the UNFCCC Parties) will presumably take place in January 2020 in Chile.