Nations breathe life to climate treaty

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KATOWICE, Poland — Nations on Sunday struck a deal to breathe life into the landmark 2015 Paris climate treaty after marathon UN talks that failed to match the ambition the world’s most vulnerable countries need to avert dangerous global warming.

Delegates from nearly 200 states finalized a common rule book designed to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).

“Putting together the Paris agreement work programme is a big responsibility,” said COP24 through the deal after talks in Poland that ran deep into overtime.

“It has been a long road. We did our best to leave no one behind.”

But states already dealing with devastating floods, droughts and extreme weather made worse by climate change said the package agreed in the mining city of Katowice lacked the bold ambition to cut emissions the world needed.

Egyptian ambassador Wael Aboulmagd, chair of the developing nations G77 plus China negotiating bloc, said the rule book saw the “urgent adaptation needs of developing countries relegated to a second-class status.”

Executive director of Greenpeace Jennifer Morgan said: “We continue to witness an irresponsible divide between the vulnerable island states and impoverished countries pitted against those who would block climate action or who are immorally failing to act fast enough.”

The final decision text was repeatedly delayed as negotiators sought guidelines that could ward off the worst threats posed by the heating planet while protecting the economies of rich and poor nations alike.

“Without a clear rulebook, we won’t see how countries are tracking, whether they are actually doing what they say they are doing,” Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told AFP.

At their heart, negotiations were about how each nation funds action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as how those actions are reported.

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