Photo by Justin Davey, UNFCCC

Shaping the outcome

After a week of hyper-technical negotiations over the Paris Agreement Work Programme, the outcome of COP24—the guidelines that will determine how countries manage the process for implementing the Paris Agreement — now sits in the hands of ministers and high-level officials. At last count, 91 ministers are expected in Katowice for the opening of the ministerial part of the COP that starts Tuesday. This is, in effect, the time the negotiations get to the nitty gritty.

“There will be no action under the Paris Agreement unless we agree on the rules of the game,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, European Union Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. “There is a lot of work to be done.”

Among the issues that still need resolution are questions concerning whether all countries would be bound by the same accountability rules, or whether there some differentiation between higher and lower income countries. The issue of counting money—the finance provided to developing countries—is also a major concern, particularly on the amounts available and the way it is tracked.

The IPCC Report

A big question for COP is how countries should reflect the IPCC Special Report on whether it was still possible to limit global warming to 1.5°C this century. The report, which was requested by the Paris Agreement, was released in October and found that while it was not impossible to reach that goal, it would require an “unprecedented” effort by all parts of society. In the negotiations, there was a debate over whether the report should be “welcomed,” most countries wanted, or simply “noted.”

“This is not mere wordplay,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “This is fundamental to whether or not this meeting is going to deliver the ambition package as well as the rulebook at the end of the week that the world is expecting.”

Fashionably Sustainable

The apparel industry has a climate problem and it wants to do something about it. In fact, textiles, it has been suggested, cause more carbon emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Now global fashion brands are joining to take action. 43 industry leader brands ranging from Adidas to Burberry, Guess to Hugo Boss and H&M Group have signed a charter to deliver sustainable fashion.

The Fashion Climate Charter is aiming to help meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement by outlining an industry vision to achieve zero-net emissions by 2050 with commitments to setting a decarbonization pathway while contributing to sustainable development.

“The Charter is just the beginning, “said Stefan Seidel, Head of Corporate Sustainability at PUMA, emphasizing that the industry is working to eliminate the fragmentation in the supply chain.

Kim Hellstorm, H&M’s Climate lead said, “Getting there will depend on innovation but more importantly collaboration.” Similarly, Pamela Betty of Burberry, said the company aims to be carbon neutral by 2022, realizing the vision of sustainable fashion.