Photo by Dan Shepard, UN DPI

Heading into overtime—It’s crunch time in Katowice, on what it supposed to be the last day of COP24, but the talks are heading for an all-nighter.  It is not unusual for climate conferences to run late—in fact, they all do. But it is always a question of how late. Famously, COP21 in Paris ended on the Saturday night.  COP17 in Durban ended on the Sunday morning.  And there is still so much to do.  A plenary was scheduled for 3 p.m., then postponed to 7 p.m, and now to 10 p.m.

Negotiating groups are continuing to meet and the feeling is that there will be a Paris Agreement Work Programme—the rules of the road for implementing the Paris Agreement.  No one is expecting perfection—but the overwhelming sense is that it is important to keep the process rolling.

Which side are you on?—There are always demonstrations or actions during a COP.  Just this morning there was a protest calling for the need to maintain “Loss and Damage” in the outcome document—alluding to a concept aimed at protecting the most vulnerable.  It covers the question of what happens to people—or a country—that loses everything.

But the far bigger demonstration took place in the main hallway of the Conference Center with several hundred participants holding a huge banner recalling the Pete Seeger song “Which Side Are You On?”

Talking with Civil Society—The UN Secretary-General, who returned to Katowice to call on countries to raise their ambition on the outcome for the COP, met with a packed room of representatives from civil society, including NGO representatives, business NGOs, women, cities and local authorities, trade unions and youth.  They peppered him with a range of questions, including the prospects for COP, next year’s Climate Summit, and more broadly, how they can engage.  The Secretary-General urged them to “never give up!  This is a battle we cannot lose.”

Next COP—Ever since Brazil withdrew its offer to host next year’s COP, there has been great speculation of where COP25 will be.  It is the turn of the western hemisphere and today the clear winner emerged:  Chile.  And the United Kingdom has expressed interest in hosting the important milestone year of 2020.