KATOWICE, Poland (Reuters) – Talks billed as the most important U.N. conference since the Paris 2015 deal on climate change are nearing the end of a first week in the Polish city of Katowice, the capital of the Silesian mining district.
The city centre of Katowice is pictured during the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
The aim is to make an end-of-year deadline for agreeing a rule book on how to enforce global action to limit further warming of the planet.
Below is a flavor of the mood around the event, held in a sprawl of temporary passageways and meeting rooms next to the “Spodek”, a flying-saucer-shaped sports and concert venue.
Negotiations continue to clean up a messy text ahead of Saturday’s deadline to have a document ready for ministers to fight over in the second and final week of the conference.
Negotiators say there has been progress, but it’s slow and, as ever, finance is a big stumbling block.
NARROWING THE GAP
After a series of reports documenting the widening gap between greenhouse gas emissions and action to reduce them, Michal Kurtyka, the Polish leader of the talks, said this had given rise to an in-joke among negotiators.
Before a day off on Sunday, and the arrival of ministers on Monday, the aim is to cut down the number of options in a draft of about 300 pages so ministers will have less work to finalize a deal.
“The joke right now is ‘Narrow the gap’,” he said.
MORE ON THE GAP
The latest reports show continued use of fossil fuel means global carbon emissions are expected to rise again this year following on from an increase in 2017.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were roughly flat from 2014-16, which inspired hopes that emissions had peaked in 2013.
COAL ALL AROUND
While the talks drag on behind the closed doors of the conference center, there’s no missing the sound of newly-mined coal rumbling down chutes some 50 km up the road.
JSW, the European Union’s biggest coking coal miner, has plans to expand, possibly with Chinese money, and says coking coal, used in steel, has decades of rosy future ahead of it.
Reporting by Barbara Lewis, Anna Koper, Catherine Macdonald; Editing by Kevin Liffey