The European Commission said on December 3 that this year’s UN climate conference would be a key moment for implementation of the Paris Agreement, with Parties aiming to finalize detailed rules that will enable the landmark accord to be put into practice across the world.
The 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change– ‘COP24’ – is taking place from December 3-14 in Katowice, Poland, presided over by the Polish government, bringing together ministers and government officials, as well as a wide range of stakeholder representatives.
Representing the EU at the opening ceremony, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič met with Arnold Schwarzenegger, a week after the Commission presented a strategic vision on how the EU could achieve climate neutrality by 2050. “This puts us in good standing to enter the negotiations, which start at the political level next week,” the EU Commission said.
At the start of a UN climate conference in Poland, Schwarzenegger said he wishes he could travel back in time like the cyborg he played in “The Terminator” so he could stop fossil fuels from being used. “If we would’ve never started in that direction and used other technology, we’d be much better off,” AP quoted the actor and former California governor as saying on December 3.
“The biggest evil is fossil fuels: it’s coal, it’s gasoline, it’s the natural gas,” he told conference delegates.
Despite US President Donald J. Trump‘s decision to walk away from the Paris agreement, the United States is still in an international accord to curb global warming, the news agency quoted Schwarzenegger as saying.
The Paris Agreement, adopted in December 2015, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C. It entered into force on 4 November 2016. 195 UNFCCC Parties have signed the Agreement and 184 have now ratified it.
In the build-up to the conference, EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, who will represent the EU at the UN conference with Austria’s Sustainability Minister Elisabeth Köstinger, has conducted extensive outreach with global counterparts in order to ensure a successful outcome in Katowice.
This includes the second Ministerial on Climate Action in Brussels co-hosted with counterparts from China and Canada, the Global Climate Action Summit in California, and a recent visit to Beijing where climate priorities were discussed with Chinese authorities. Additionally, the EU has also undertaken wide outreach at officials level with a view to moving towards landing zones on the key political issues related to the Paris rulebook. Party groupings reached out to include progressive developed and developing countries, the G77 and major economies including South Africa.