POST TIME: 17 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM
COP24: Climate summit
5 things we’ve learnt
BBC, London

5 things we’ve learnt

The key points of the cop24 climate summit’s agreement are-

The rules are key to the game

However dull it may be, the operational rules for the 2015 Paris climate agreement will govern the way the world tackles climate change for decades to come. The key thing was not to unravel the carefully negotiated Paris agreement by having one set of rules for the rich countries and another one for the poor.

To keep everyone in check, the rules will also contain a compliance mechanism, which means that countries that don't submit their reports on time will face an inquiry.

Science is worth fighting for

One of the biggest rows at this meeting was over a key scientific report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A group of countries including Saudi Arabia, US, Kuwait and Russia refused to "welcome" the IPCC study. The vast majority of countries felt that acknowledging the science was critical at this conference. Their efforts did finally ensure that the IPCC was recognised - but many felt it was a token effort.

International spirit is still alive

Many countries had worried that with the rise of nationalism in many countries and the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil's president, the international co-operation needed to tackle climate change might be in danger. For many getting agreement here in Katowice was less about technical rules and more about showing that the international spirit is still alive and has teeth.

A win for the process but not for the planet?

While negotiators have been congratulating themselves on a job well done in landing the rulebook, there are many voices here who feel that the agreement does not go far enough.

They point to the strength of the science, and the public recognition of the impacts of climate change seen this year in heatwaves and wildfires. Many environmental campaigners believe that Katowice was a missed opportunity for radical action.

New voices are emerging

One of the most striking things about this conference of the parties was the presence of energised young people in far greater numbers than I have ever seen them at a COP before.