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  • Greenpeace activists project images of German politicians onto a cooling tower in Cologne, Germany, Dec. 14, 2018.

    Greenpeace activists project images of German politicians onto a cooling tower in Cologne, Germany, Dec. 14, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 December 2018

The 24th U.N. convention on climate change concludes after 12 days of negotiations.

The United Nations Summit on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland concludes Friday. The final agreement, however, may be insufficient to address the global effects of human-driven climate change.

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“To waste this opportunity in Katowice would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change. It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned.

Although the COP24 has made it possible to evaluate measures adopted against global warming before 2020, the key political issues remain unresolved, including measures to secure corporate accountability and a shift from fossil fuels. 

Groups of small island states and developing countries, representing over 920 million people, issued a statement to Michal Kurtyka, president of the talks, expressing their frustration with the slow pace and lack of ambition of the talks.

"(We are) deeply concerned over the direction in which the outcomes ... are heading," the statement said, adding that a robust rulebook is needed to ensure ambitious emissions cuts are made.

Cuba's Minister of Science, Technology and Environment Elba Perez regretted the lack of responses that could help developing nations to tackle their vulnerabilities to climate change.

"A few hours before the COP24's closing, Developing Countries' demands for further development and technology transfer remain unresolved, as well as the need to analyze the barriers to access these technologies," Perez said in her Twitter account.

"It is very difficult to explain to those who suffer the effects of climate change that we have not been able to find predictable support for the actions that must be taken," commented the U.N. highest representative, adding that "we must find a formula that balances the responsibilities of all countries and what is fair and effective for all."

The evaluation by ministers and parties at COP24 recognizes that although much has been done to address climate problems, much more needs to be done before 2020.

The next high-level balance sheet will be made at the end of 2019 during COP25 in Chile.

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