COP24 Fails to Adopt Key Scientific Report
Representatives from the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait shocked delegates and scientists at the COP24 conference by refusing to welcome a major scientific report about climate change.
The 24th Conference of the Parties was convened in Katowice, Poland to discuss implementation for the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Climate Accord aims to keep global warming at 1.5° C or less, but is non-binding for the 175 Parties that signed it.
The COP24 conference came only two months after a major report by UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warned world governments that they had 12 years to drastically reduce carbon emissions. The report by the IPCC was commissioned as a result of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The IPCC was tasked with finding out the effects resulting from a rise in global temperatures of 1.5° C. However, their report predicted that the world is on track to reach a 3° C increase in global temperatures. The report concluded that, to halt global warming to 1.5° C, global carbon emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030.
Although the IPCC report was widely accepted by politicians and scientists, the four governments of United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait objected the conference “welcoming” the report. Instead, they advocated for the conference to only “take note” of the report.
Without a consensus, COP24 failed to adopt IPCC’s scientific report. Many critics point out that numerous COP summits have resulted in no agreement, including COP15 in 2009, which failed to form any agreement, and COP19 in 2013, which couldn’t finalize any binding treaty. These critics now have one more example to point to when arguing against the effectiveness of global climate actions.