Climate change: ‘Hell to pay’ if COP24 talks fail | Sunday Observer

Climate change: ‘Hell to pay’ if COP24 talks fail

Mohamed Nasheed is an influential figure in the UN climate process
Mohamed Nasheed is an influential figure in the UN climate process

Dec 14: Amid impassioned pleas for progress, negotiators at the UN climate talks in Poland are facing the final day with many issues undecided. Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed said there would be “hell to pay” if countries failed to take significant steps.

Countries are struggling to complete the complex “rulebook” of the Paris climate agreement.

But they are also under pressure to boost their promises to cut carbon. One of the biggest challenges facing the talks is the sheer number of decisions that have been passed up to around 100 ministers from all over the world who have travelled here to Katowice.

They are also feeling the heat from developing countries and small island states who fear that they will face ruin if temperatures rise by more than 1.5C. Right now, the world has warmed about 1C since the industrial revolution. Former president of the Maldives and now their lead negotiator, Mohamed Nasheed, made an impassioned plea for urgent progress on cutting carbon.

“It’s just madness for us to allow global CO2 levels (in the atmosphere) to go beyond 450 parts per million, and temperatures to shoot past 1.5 degrees,” he told a press briefing.

“That can still be prevented. If we come together on the basis of the emergency facing us, we can do it.

“Every country at this summit will have hell to pay if we don’t.”

Representatives from 196 states are here trying to sort out some very tricky questions pertaining to the rulebook of the Paris agreement which comes into force in 2020.

These are the regulations that will govern the nuts and bolts of how countries cut carbon, provide finance to poorer nations and ensure that everyone is doing what they say they are doing.

It sounds easy but it is very technical. At the moment countries often have different definitions and timetables for their carbon cutting actions. However some progress is being seen in shaping the rules.

“Some of the text that are key to the rulebook, in terms of the transparency of countries reporting their mitigating actions are pretty strong, they are better than they were a week ago,” said one senior negotiator.

But there are significant holdups.

Poorer countries want some “flexibility” in the rules so that they are not overwhelmed with regulations that they don’t have the capacity to put into practice.