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COP24 climate summit – live: UN chief warns failure to agree would be ‘suicidal’ after ‘rogue nations’ block major scientific report

Follow the latest events from event heralded as 'Paris 2.0' 

Andrew Griffin,Josh Gabbatiss
Sunday 02 December 2018 14:26
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Sir David Attenborough at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice: Climate change 'our greatest threat'

An old coal mine in Poland is the unlikely setting for the most important international climate change discussions in years.

COP24 comes after a succession of reports in which scientists have made it abundantly clear that current efforts to avoid global warming catastrophe are not sufficient.

Over the next two weeks leaders will try to establish a set of rules to follow as they implement the Paris climate agreement targets. They will also discuss ramping up ambitions, and who is going to pay for these changes.

Leaders are assembling at the International Congress Centre in Katowice, Poland, next door to the city’s Coal History Museum – an unfortunate reminder of the host nation’s continued reliance on this high-polluting fossil fuel.

A warning that carbon pollution is on track to reach unprecedented levels in 2018 has added even greater urgency to the talks, as NGOs warn that wealthy countries are not pulling their weight in the fight against climate change.

Here you can follow the latest news from the event and reactions from around the world.

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Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the COP24 summit in Katowice, Poland.

At an event that has been hailed as “Paris 2.0”, we’ll be keeping track of the big announcements to emerge from the meeting as well as the reaction to it around the world.

It has been a big year for the climate change discussion, and experts hope these talks will prove fruitful and set us on a path to a cleaner future. This should include a set of rules for countries to follow in meeting the Paris goals, more money pledged to tackling climate change, and an indication that countries are going to aim for even deeper cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.

With two weeks of diplomatic wrangling ahead, it remains to be seen how optimistic these goals are.

josh.gabbatiss2 December 2018 13:17
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On Saturday the first of many international climate marches took place in London and across Germany to mark the start of the UN climate negotiations in Poland.

Demonstrators in Brussels took to the streets in their thousands on Sunday as part of the “ Claim the Climate” march. 

Protesters said richer nations needed to lead the way in transitioning the world to a greener future, and used COP24 as an opportunity to call for a change to domestic policies such as the UK’s focus on fracking, or coal mining in Germany.

Claire James from the Campaign against Climate Change, who helped organise the march, said:

It is vital that richer nations, such as the UK, lead the way, by doing what is actually the minimum required in this crisis - an urgent transition to a zero carbon economy.

We can do this, but we need to start now - for example to reverse the ban on new onshore wind in England, halt unpopular fracking, cancel the third runway at Heathrow and invest instead in sustainable transport to make ordinary people’s lives easier.

Sian Berry, co-leader of the UK Green Party, said:

COP24 will be a crucial moment in the fight to stop climate breakdown. 

With the UN warning we have just 12 years to limit climate catastrophe the decisions made by global governments in Poland next week have the potential to make or break our ability to face the future. 

The UK must show political leadership by ditching climate wrecking policies like fracking and airport expansion,  and committing to the bold and radical action we need to save the planet.

josh.gabbatiss2 December 2018 13:44
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A demonstrator holds a placard during a 'Claim the Climate' march in Brussels, Sunday, Dec 2 as COP24 begins in Poland (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert) 

josh.gabbatiss2 December 2018 13:55
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josh.gabbatiss2 December 2018 14:30
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If you're not sure what all the fuss is about, here is a quick reminder of what the Paris climate agreement is, and how COP24 is going to build on it.

josh.gabbatiss2 December 2018 15:15
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josh.gabbatiss2 December 2018 17:27
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I'm signing off for the evening, but we will be back tomorrow when COP24 kicks off properly.

josh.gabbatiss2 December 2018 18:00
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Political leaders on Monday began arriving in the Polish coal city of Katowice where two weeks of talks have begun to revive the landmark Paris 2015 deal on climate change as dire warnings mount about a lack of action.

Representatives of some of the most powerful countries and biggest polluters will be conspicuous by their absence as the United States has said it is leaving the U.N. process and China was not expected to send its top politicians.

To maximise the chances of success, technical talks began on Sunday, a day earlier than planned, with delegates from nearly 200 nations haggling over how to implement the broad promises of the Paris deal on moving away from fossil fuel.

The talks in Katowice have been billed as the most important U.N. conference since the landmark Paris accord as they precede an end-of-year deadline to agree a "rule book" on how to enforce action to limit global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

Expectations for the Polish talks are low: the atmosphere of political unity built in Paris has been shattered by a wave of populist governments that place national agendas before collective action.

The host nation Poland remains committed to coal, the most polluting of fossil fuels, calling for a "just transition" to allow communities dependent on fossil fuel help in changing their lifestyle.

The riots in Paris at the weekend, partly in protest at higher fuel taxes, also illustrate the conundrum: How do political leaders introduce policies that will do long-term good for the environment without inflicting extra costs on voters that may damage their chances of re-election?

Delegates at the talks said the biggest issues were likely to include finance and the level of scrutiny associated with monitoring individual nations' emissions.

The U.N. has a goal to raise $100 billion every year from 2020 for climate action. To inject momentum, the World Bank Group on Monday said it would provide a further $200 billion over five years from the start of the next decade.

Other attempts to inject urgency into the Polish talks will include an intervention from British broadcaster and environmentalist David Attenborough, as well as the roughly 25 heads of state and government who are attending the talks.

Andrew Griffin3 December 2018 09:45
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It's not long until David Attenborough takes the stage at the opening session of the conference. Here's a provocative piece about why that shouldn't be happening 

Andrew Griffin3 December 2018 10:31
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Here's some of Attenborough's speech, in which he urges the delegates and the world to make the most of the opportunity

Andrew Griffin3 December 2018 11:19

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