Looking back at the Polish Presidency of COP24 in Katowice

QUENTIN GENARD

For two weeks in December 2018, Poland was the beating heart of multilateral diplomacy. COP24, the annual diplomatic meeting on climate change, took place in Katowice, the capital of Silesia. Stakes were high, especially for the Polish Presidency.

The multilateral framework to fight climate change

Scientifics have established a long-time ago that human activities influence climate. Governments set up an international framework to help the fight against climate change in 1992, called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 197 signatories meet annually at a Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress and enhance actions. It is within this framework that the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement, and now the “Katowice texts” were negotiated.

The COP would generally take place in Bonn, Germany where its secretariat sits, unless a country volunteers to host it. The host country should come from one of the five regions officially recognised by the United Nations, on a rotating basis: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Others. Poland has repeatedly been the only country to volunteer to host the COP from Central and Eastern Europe Region. This is why COP14 (Poznań), COP19 (Warsaw) and COP24 (Katowice) took place in Poland.

Not all the COPs have the same agenda or importance. Only some of them made it into history. It is during COP3 in Japan that the Kyoto Protocol was signed and hence the first common framework for limiting global warming emissions agreed. Observers still refer to COP15 in Copenhagen as a massive drawback as the world failed to agree on a new climate change treaty. Finally, COP21 was a landmark meeting as this is where the Paris Agreement was negotiated. At the end of last year, it was clear that COP24 would be an crucial meeting: negotiators were tasked with finalising the “rulebook” (the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement) before turning to 2019, the “ambition” year. Czytaj więcej

The new era of energy? Dilemmas for the future

RAFAŁ ANDRZEJ SMENTEK, Weimar Dialogue

Ligne_haute-tensionWithin the next years the topic of energy could be dominant in the international relations in Europe and surpass such problems like financial crisis, equal rights or tolerance. Probably only the subject of water scarcity will compete with energy for time on daily news. The reason for that is simple and consists of three parts. Czytaj więcej