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COP24: Climate Protesters March On As Negotiations Intensify
Katowice, Poland

COP24: Climate Protesters March On As Negotiations Intensify

On Dec. 9 thousands of environmental activists gathered in Katowice, Poland, to demand more action from their governments to curb global warming. The city is host to this year's 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where delegates from nearly 200 countries will debate how they can implement plans to keep global temperature rise in check. This is Poland's third time hosting the UN climate summit in the span of 10 years.  


Katowice is the largest city in the Silesian Metropolis, which is Poland's heartland for heavy industry, transportation, science and culture, as well as coal mining. Currently around 80 percent of Poland's power production is derived from coal-fired plants.
The protest parade drew farmers from Latin America, environmental activists from Asia, students from the United States and families from Europe. Many of them said that their lives are already affected by climate change. The parade commenced at the Climate Hub not far from the COP24 venue. It passed the summit venue and a few shopping blocks before returning to the junction where it started. According to the Polish media, the police estimated that there were around 3,000 people at the protest.


游行队伍的组成十分多样,有来自拉美的农民,亚洲的环保人士,美国的学生,还有来自欧洲的家庭,其中许多人表示气候变化已经影响了他们的生活。游行路线呈“几”字型,从气候大会会场附近的Climate Hub 出发,沿途经过会场和几个商业街区,最终回到会场的十字路口。据波兰媒体报道,警方估计有3000人参加了游行。

Protesters first gathered at every junction and crossroads, but they were soon surrounded by police. The police were equipped with shields, batons, guns and tear gas tanks. With anti-riot police surrounding the protesters, the parade took place in a very orderly fashion.


In the midst of the parade, the police tried to disperse the crowds and for a while the parade stalled. It eventually ended at the COP24 venue at around 5 p.m.

At the end of the first week of the two-week-long negotiations, progress has been slow. Delegates have not arrived at a consensus on the 'rulebook' for the Paris Agreement, the landmark 2015 compact where they committed to reduce their climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. Countries have continued to debate their obligations under the agreement as well as the compensation mechanisms for loss and damage caused by climate change impacts.

Climate finance is another sticking point. In 2014, a Green Climate Fund was established as the financial mechanism accountable to the COP. It came into operation in 2015, but the first round of climate funds is expected to be used up by the middle of next year, creating an urgent need to start replenishing the fund for the developing countries to work toward climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. 

The U.S. has pledged US$3 billion but has so far only contributed $1 billion to the fund and does not seem to be keen to fulfill the remaining $2 billion. Currently, Germany leads with a pledge to commit new funding of 1.5 billion Euros. Whether Germany's action will be followed by other countries, remains to be seen as ministers from the Paris Agreement signatory states arrive for the second week of negotiations. During the week, those ministers will cross-check developed countries' contributions against their pledges and set longer-term climate financing targets.
For China's part, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, Xie Zhen Hua, emphasized at a side-event at the China Pavilion on Dec. 7 that China is the world's largest developing country with millions of poor people who are facing the brunt of environmental challenges. Those challenges are compounded by uncertainty in China's economy. Xie said China, as a developing country, has already taken all necessary measures in terms of emissions reduction and climate change mitigation. At the same time, as China works toward meeting its climate targets, it has reduced the population of rural poor by 10 million.
Responding to a question on the progress of COP24, Xie pointed out that the first week included more than 70 points of negotiation and overall every country adopted a positive attitude.
"Until now there is steady progress, and as we enter the second week the points of contention will surface. Everyone hopes that the multilateral mechanism will be effective, and China will continue to take a positive attitude in contributing to the effective development of the multilateral process," Xie said.
Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, also attended the side event at the China pavilion. He said China is the world's largest energy consumer as well as a renewable energy leader and the main producer of electric cars globally. As such, the country plays a very important role in global climate governance. Apart from political measures, Birol suggested that China should establish bridges between air quality and climate change to further improve policy implementation.


其次, 气候融资仍是一个绊脚石,后2025年资金目标等问题还存在分歧。目前,气候变化框架公约下面有个专门的针对气候资金的绿色气候基金(Green Climate Fund),其自2014年建立,至2015年正式运转,目前第一轮注资的钱现有可能在明年年中用完,因此现在需要开启第二轮注资的进程,给发展中国家提供资金。




作为COP 24出访第一站,国际能源署署长法提赫`比罗尔(Fatih Birol)也出席了昨日的中国角边会,他指出,中国是最大的能源消费国,也是可再生能源引领者和全球电动汽车的主要生产者,在全球气候治理中的角色非常重要。同时,他提出建议,除了政治措施,还应在空气质量与气候变化之间建立桥梁和联系,推动政策执行。