UN summit in Katowice agrees climate deal

At the UN summit in Katowice the international community of states has agreed on a joint set of regulations for climate protection laying out how invidual states are to reduce their emissions and monitor each other's progress. The goal is to make the measures agreed three years ago at the Paris Climate Change Summit operational. Is the world starting to take climate protection seriously?

Open/close all quotes
The Irish Times (IE) /

Cheating made more difficult

The Climate Change Conference in Katowice has made crucial progress in several areas, The Irish Times writes:

“Significantly, the deal introduces transparency around action and, if outstanding issues are resolved next year, will end rogue accounting practices - such as double counting of reductions. Separately, the talks struck a delicate balance between concerns of the smallest, poorest and most vulnerable countries, developed nations most responsible for global warming, and emerging economies wary of being saddled with a bigger burden to act. At last, there is a clearer path to tangible, ongoing financial supports for adaptation.”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

Opportunity knocks in a crisis

Now that humanity is really in deep water it may finally take action, writes Kevin Buckland, artist and activist with the movement Global Climate Justice, in Krytyka Polityczna:

“Each crisis that rocks our community also breaks up cultural norms, creating the opportunity for reorganisation. Nothing we can do will stop the ship from sinking but we can slow down the process. Instead of waiting in line for the captain to give us a place in the lifeboat, perhaps it's time we started deciding - together - how to turn all these sun loungers we’ve been lazing around in into life rafts.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Most questions are answered

The climate hasn't been saved yet but the laborious negotiations have paid off, writes Deutschlandfunk:

“The international community has passed gratifyingly strict rules for climate protection: in future every country must record its CO2 emissions and account for them. And the industrial countries are obliged to reveal whether they are fulfilling their commitment to support developing countries in their climate protection measures. All this sounds very technical, but the conference has at least answered most of the questions that remained open after the historic Paris climate summit. Three years ago with the Paris agreement a basic law for protecting the climate was approved. Now we have the administrative laws to go with it. That's major progress and that alone already makes the conference in Katowice a big success.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Global cooperation works

The final declaration adopted at the Conference offers a glimmer of hope, Hospodářské noviny believes:

“Hardly anyone now agrees with former Czech president Václav Klaus that you can deal with climate change by 'putting on a sweater or taking it off again'. There's a general desire for concrete measures, even if they're expensive. Nor have the fears expressed before the Conference that rising nationalism in today's world would limit the willingness to take on collective commitments in the fight against climate change been confirmed. The spirit of global cooperation is not dead - and the situation is not beyond hope.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Big efforts, few results

The conference was a waste of time and effort, Gazeta Wyborcza rails:

“Okay, the delegates passed guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement. They agreed that every five years the climate protection measures of individual countries would be reviewed and documented. But what use is that in view of the report put out by the International Panel on Climate Change stating that we face catastrophe in just twelve years' time? Honestly, there was no need to spend 250 million złoty, block off Katowice for two weeks and station police officers from all over the country for such an outcome. We may as well just have sent an email with a big smiley at the end instead.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

More ambitious goals needed

The worlds of politics and business must do more to protect the climate, De Volkskrant urges:

“Within just a few years the sense of urgency and joint responsibility that made the COP 21 in Paris such a success have been supplanted by nationalism and protectionism. ... Although less-developed countries are already feeling the impact of climate change in the form of extreme drought, floods and hurricanes, both the rich countries and big industry are shirking responsibility. ... That's worrying. If politicians fail to come up with ambitious goals and stringent measures now, the next chance won't be until 2025. For future generations that's too late. Sitting things out and passing the buck is no longer an option.”