Conference in Katowice: The decisions of the climate summit

At the climate summit in Katowice, representatives from more than 190 countries agreed on resolutions aimed at advancing the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. The central points at a glance.

1.5-degree target

The Katowice Final Document acknowledges the recent Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which calls for increased efforts to achieve the 1.5 degree target. This point had been particularly controversial in the negotiations. The USA, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia had positioned themselves against the summit “welcoming” the report, but insisted that it only be “noted”. A compromise formula is now found in the decision that the “timely completion of the report is welcomed”.


The Paris agreement on climate protection will only work if states trust each other halfway. It’s like, “I’ll only try if you do the same.” Regular reports should therefore be submitted, including information on how greenhouse gas emissions have developed and what a country has achieved in terms of climate protection and adaptation to climate change. In future, uniform transparency rules and standards for CO2 recording will apply to all countries. This should make it possible to compare the progress made by individual countries in pursuing their CO2 reduction targets. In Katowice, the industrialised countries had insisted that emerging countries such as China should record greenhouse gas emissions using the same methods as themselves. Developing countries will be granted a transitional period to create the technical conditions for this.

Binding force

Rules of the game or not – there are no sanctions if a state violates them. The “sharp sword of transparency” is intended to ensure that everyone knows about everyone and that social pressure leads everyone to make an effort. There is a committee that is supposed to “help” states to deliver their climate protection reports properly. However, in order for the committee to be able to make official contact with a country and engage in a kind of dialogue on the backlog, it needs the agreement of that country.


The Paris climate treaty states the promise of the industrialized countries to provide 100 billion dollars annually from 2020 for the fight against global warming in poor countries. This sum is to flow until 2025. A new financing target is to be set before 2025. In Katowice, the developing countries demanded that they be informed regularly and reliably about the increase in funds in order to have planning security. Climate protectors criticise the fact that loans can also be counted as climate aid in the reports submitted every two years.

Damages and losses

The developing countries have been complaining for years that the damage and losses caused by climate change are not sufficiently recognised in the negotiations. In addition to the existing climate aid measures, they call for separate support for coping with the consequences of climate change. According to the Katowice agreement, the issue will be given more weight in the future: In the future, damages and losses will be taken into account in the balance of global climate protection efforts (“Global Stocktake”), which according to the Paris Treaty is to take place every five years. However, no financial support has been provided in this area.

Pollution rights market

States can trade pollution rights, because for the global climate it does not matter where the greenhouse gases come from and where they are saved. It is important, however, that no cheating can take place here and that, for example, two states credit each other with the same amount. So far, this isn’t going well. Therefore, there should be a completely new system that does not repeat the mistakes of the past. The dispute over this had – above all because Brazil had ruled out – delayed the negotiations again for a long time in the end. The topic has been postponed until next year. According to negotiators, this is not so bad at first – the important rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement have been passed.

Future climate targets

In Paris, the states had submitted voluntary, self-imposed targets to reduce their CO2 emissions. At that time it was agreed that updated targets should be presented by 2020. The Katowice decisions confirm this call – a formulation that these goals must be significantly tightened up, as climate protectors had demanded, is not found in the text. However, additional efforts to raise climate targets were promised during the conference by a “coalition of the ambitious”, including the EU with Germany and small island states.

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