Negotiators on Friday adopted a landmark text designed to frame a global agreement in Paris that aims to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
It’s a great step forward, and shows the commitment of governments to a meaningful deal to slow climate change. But much work still remains to achieve the very ambitious climate goals that the US and other countries have already pledged to meet. Here’s what happened at the talks in Poland, as we reported it in the BBC and the Washington Post on Friday.
This year’s COP24 talks are set to be the last gathering of the world’s largest economies and developing countries, which are responsible for most of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases piling up in the atmosphere. It will also be the last one to take place in Poland, which has hosted the talks every two years since 2009.
As parties gathered in the Polish city of Katowice, negotiators in Warsaw kicked off formal talks on one of the biggest issues: How to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and guide emissions cuts of 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. They also pledged to steer investments in energy efficiency.
Scientists are now warning that without deep cuts to climate-warming pollution and greater investments in cleaner energy options, temperature rises of up to 2°C will be inevitable. The bad news is that we’ve already passed the 1°C mark at the global level, and we need to kick-start a concerted effort to limit warming to 1.5°C if we are to keep warming under that level. That requires pledges made in Paris of ambitious action from countries.