Lush green forest of Colombia
Forest area in Meta, Colombia , part of a sustainable ranching program © Juan Arredondo / TNC

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COP24 Shows Modest Progress, Need to Inject More Urgency

John Verdieck, director of international climate policy for The Nature Conservancy, issued the following statement following the conclusion of UNFCCC COP 24 in Katowice, Poland, which focused on finalizing rules for countries to implement the Paris Agreement:

 

“The roadmap negotiated by delegates over the past two weeks represents modest progress at a time when we should be seeing urgent action. Climate change is no longer a distant threat and it’s time for all countries to act. The Nature Conservancy strongly urges countries to remember the spirit of Paris that led to decisive momentum for climate action and return to that focus on ambitious, innovative climate solutions.”

 

“Importantly, the progress made in Katowice gives countries the guidance they need to put forward more ambitious nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with what was agreed under the Paris Agreement.      

 

“Unfortunately, key conversations on how to utilize carbon markets were not finished in Katowice and will now be taken up next year. We hope Parties will use the coming twelve months to resolve their differences on market-based opportunities, which will be a key driver of increased global ambition over the coming decade.”

 

“Encouragingly, urgency and ambition were common themes outside of the formal negotiations, including during the Talanoa Dialogue, begun by the COP23 Presidency from Fiji, in which real tangible solutions for communities were highlighted on agriculture, forests, ocean management, and finance. Those solutions highlighted the role that nature can play to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience in the face of a changing climate.  

 

For too long, natural climate solutions have been underemphasized, both in policy and in resourcing. Nature Conservancy science shows that natural solutions offer a third of the cuts to global carbon emissions needed by 2030, but they take up less than one percent of the public discussion and just three percent of the public funding for emissions reduction. We must bridge that divide and unleash the power of nature to reduce emissions and protect communities.

 

“While the negotiations themselves may not have crystalized every issue on the table, there were many positives from the two weeks in Katowice, including the escalation of private sector and investment commitments towards climate action; strong financial leadership from Germany and Norway, who doubled previous commitments on climate finance; and the expansion of city and state intentions to pursue low-carbon solutions to solve energy, transportation, and infrastructure needs.

 

“Since Paris, we continue to learn just how precarious a course we find ourselves on. Avoiding dangerous climate change requires actions from all countries and all sectors. On this issue, we all must work together.  It's time for every country to get moving in the right direction."   

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.