COP24 Katowice

What is the Climate Summit?

The Climate Summit is the annual meeting of the signatory states to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC includes all countries recognized by the UN. The main objective of the Convention is to ensure that the Earth's temperature is maintained at a level that does not threaten humanity and the environment. It is within the framework of this convention that annual climate summits have been organized since 1995 ("Conference of the parties" abbreviated as "COP"). The most important summits have been held so far in Kyoto (1997) and in Paris (2015) where the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement were signed.

What does the name "COP24" mean?

The name "COP" is the Conference of the Parties or the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. The number 24 indicates that it is already the twenty-fourth edition of this conference. They take place every year, and the first edition took place in Berlin in 1995.

Why is it in Poland this year?

Climatic peaks are organized every year in a country representing another of the 5 regional groups to which the parties to the convention have been divided. Poland volunteered to organize the Summit at home and was granted this right. Hosting and leading the COP24 in Katowice, it represents the East European group for the third time. The first Summit in Poland took place in Poznan in 2008 and Warsaw in 2013.

Why exactly in Katowice?

The choice of the city that will host the summit took place in 2017. The decision was announced by the then Minister of the Environment, Jan Szyszko, who was a big supporter of the idea, especially due to the possibility of showing the "carbon" specificity of our country. The final selection was made by the UNFCCC secretariat. Katowice defeated Gdańsk, among others, in the competition for the organization of the COP24 summit.

What is the role of Poland?

Poland fills the role of the Presidency of the COP. The duties of the Presidency include, first of all, ensuring proper logistic conditions for all participants of the Summit, mitigating and resolving disputes between participants (mainly the delegates of individual governments) and supporting international cooperation. The Presidency begins on the first day of the Summit and lasts one year to the first day of the next edition of the event. The president of COP - this year it is Michał Kurtyka - who is obliged to conduct impartial and to moderate global negotiations.

Who is coming to the Summit?

Representatives of the 196 countries belonging to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from five UN regions: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, and Western Europe, and other regions come to each Summit. The summit is a closed event and accreditation is needed to take part in it. The participants of the Summit are delegates of governments, representatives of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

What happens during the meeting?

During the Summit, plenary meetings, "contact groups" and negotiation sessions are organized. Only delegates of state governments have the right to vote during negotiations. They make decisions and jointly determine what is to be found in the Agreement, which is the final document presenting the unanimously adopted principles of global climate policy.

What is the goal of the COP24 Summit?

Establishment of the implementation plan for the Paris Agreement (COP21) The "Rulebook" and evaluation of current global activities contributing to climate protection. The "Rulebook" is to determine what actions, in what form, on what basis, when and by whom should be taken after 2020.

What is the Paris Agreement?

The main objective of the Paris Agreement is to pursue the parties (countries) to stop the average global temperature increase to 1.5 ° C or below 2 ° C in relation to the pre-industrial era. Countries have undertaken long-term plans to adapt to climate change and extreme phenomena, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide, so as not to jeopardize food production. Currently, the Paris Agreement has already ratified 181 pages.

Why is this COP a breakthrough?

Whether the Paris Agreement (COP21) actually starts to operate from 2020 - in accordance with the adopted plan depends on what happens during the COP24 summit in Katowice. This is not an easy task because countries so far have not been very active in this process and are reluctant to accept specific obligations at the international level.

Can the Summit Fail?

Yes, if all parties (as many as 197!) Unanimously will not make a joint decision on climate policy.

Who makes decisions during the Summit?

The right to vote during global negotiations and, as a result, the right to make decisions are only granted to national delegates of governments.

What should we demand from the delegates of individual countries and the European Union?

We should demand decisions that will give us - citizens of the world - a chance to stop global warming to 1.5 ºC in relation to the pre-industrial era by raising the ambitions of reducing CO2 emissions contained in the Contributions Planned by Countries (NDCs) adopted during the Paris Agreement.

Express your opinion! Sign the petition to the President of COP Michał Kurtyka >>

Why is it so difficult?

Undertaking a unanimous decision is a considerable challenge considering that parties participating in the Conference often represent divergent interests.

What are Intendned Planned Contributions?

The Intended Planned Contributions, so-called NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) were set up at COP21 in Paris and set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by individual countries to adapt to the effects of climate change. Each plan reflects the ambitions of individual countries to reduce emissions taking into account their capabilities and economic situation.

What activities is WWF Polska involved in?

WWF Polska urgently calls for the the problem of climate change not to downplayed, and recommends specific solutions in this area. We publish expert opinions, indicating development directions for national and international policies. We are an accredited organization of the so-called Climate Summits - COP.

Above all, we urge you to consistently replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources while increasing energy efficiency. In addition, as a non-governmental organization we operate in advisory councils, i.e. the Council for Nature Conservation, we participate in public consultations of state documents, we monitor the progress of work on climate and energy policy. We run educational activities. Some of them can be found on the project website run by WWF in partnership with other Foundations: ENERGIA OdNowa.

What is the impact of the decisions made during the Summit on the daily life of ordinary citizens?

The success of the Summit in Katowice is important for all residents of the world. Regardless of our place of residence, status or age, we all use the Earth's natural resources needed to produce food, energy, or everyday objects. If we want to guarantee that people's quality of life will remain at the same level and the natural environment that we know will be saved, we must make every effort to meet the plans made during the Summit and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

What can you do?

We encourage you to read and sign the petition, which we give to the COP24 President, join the email appeal to the Polish government, create a logo with your own face in our application and set it on a profile photo on Facebook or use on a personalized T-shirt. During the Summit in Katowice events will be organized in the city in which everyone can take part - lectures, discussions, Climate March on December 8, and happenings. Some are organized by the City of Katowice, but most are organized by social organizations.

In addition, every day it is worth taking actions that contribute to the inhibition of climate change - reducing the amount of waste produced, segregating, as well as recycling and giving new life to used items. We also encourage you to plant trees, limit your intake of meat in one's diet and the more frequent use of public transport, bikes, or your own feet :)

How will the agreement signed during the Summit ensure that the countries taking part in the Summit fulfill their commitments?

If the main conclusions are reached in relation to climate protection activities, a declaration or agreement is drawn up. In the case of the Paris Agreement agreed at COP21, at least 55 countries responsible for at least 55% of global CO2 emissions had to sign their signatures. Countries that sign their signatures are bound by their obligations. Since 2015, it has been established that progress will be reviewed every 5 years with the setting of new, more ambitious targets updated with the latest scientific knowledge.

What has been achieved during the previous Summits?

In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, popularly known as the Earth Summit, was signed in Rio de Janeiro, followed by annual Conferences since 1995. The significant peak was the one from 1997 when the famous Kyoto Protocol was signed, where specific greenhouse gas reduction targets were set, only for developed countries, which included the majority of emissions. The most important, however, was the Summit in 2015 where the Paris Agreement was signed. This was the first international agreement since the signing of the Convention in 1992, which established that to counteract climate change not only the governments of developed countries, but all countries belonging to the Convention, must take measures to reduce CO2 emissions.

How long will the Climate Summit last in Katowice?

All summits usually last 2 weeks. This year, the Conference will start on December 2nd, and it will end on the 14th.

I am an ordinary citizen. How can I keep up to date with what's happening during the conference?

We encourage you to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages, read news related to the COP, and look at the websites of ecological organizations. On Twitter, it is also worth watching the profiles of our employees in the Climate Department: Marta Anczewska and Oskar Kulik, and WWF. They will be reporting what is going on in the corridors of COP24.


1°C - the temperature on Earth has risen in recent years

Why is climate change a serious threat?

According to the Special Report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), "Global Warming of 1.5 ° C" link here: the effects of climate change are already felt around the world. The report also shows that if the average global temperature increases by 2 ° C, these effects will be higher than expected. More frequent storms, floods, heat waves, droughts, storms, fires, sudden frost strikes, and economic losses are waiting for us. Scientists prove that the slowdown of global warming at the level of 2 ° C is no longer a safe border for humanity, where it would be possible to avoid the worst catastrophes. We must stop global warming in relation to the pre-industrial age at 1.5 ° C! 1.5 ° C is the value at which exceeding the equilibrium of the entire terrestrial ecosystem may occur.

What is global warming?

Global warming is an increase in the average surface temperature of land and oceans from 1850. Since then, the temperature has increased by about 1⁰C. In addition to the same temperature rise, signs of global warming include a rise in sea level, melting glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice, changes in the range of plants and animals, more frequent occurrences of extreme phenomena such as droughts, rainstorms, heat waves and others.

Why is our climate changing?

The direct cause of this drastic increase in temperature is the burning of fossil fuels by man (coal, oil, gas) and the resulting release of additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which cause the global average temperature to rise. Under normal conditions, when the temperature changed slowly over tens and hundreds of thousands of years, nature had time to adapt and evolve. Today's dynamic change doesn't give it a chance.

Currently, the climate is warming due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)). Greenhouse gases retain part of the energy radiated by the Earth in the atmosphere. The more greenhouse gases, the more energy remains in the Earth's climate system. Whereas, before the industrial era (before 1850) the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was around 280 ppm (parts per million), currently this level has risen to around 440 ppm. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases primarily due to the emissions associated with burning fossil fuels. As fossil fuels have naturally been deposited under the earth's surface millions of years ago, their extraction and burning disrupts the natural cycle of carbon in nature, which has stabilized in the meantime.

Therefore, we must drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately, and thus stop using fossil fuels to raise energy until around the middle of this century.

How does WWF work to reduce climate change?

WWF Polska urgently calls for the problem of climate change not to be downplayed and recommends specific solutions in this area. We publish expert opinions, indicating development directions for national and international policies. We are an accredited organization of the so-called Climate Summits - COP.

Above all, we urge you to consistently replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources while increasing energy efficiency. In addition, as a non-governmental organization we operate in advisory councils, i.e. the Council for Nature Conservation, we participate in public consultations of state documents, we monitor the progress of work on climate and energy policy. We run educational activities. Some of them can be found on the project website run by WWF in partnership with other Foundations: ENERGIA OdNowa.

Our everyday behavior can contribute to climate change or counteract it. Knowledge of practices that increase CO2 emissions to the environment and their avoidance is the first step in the fight to reduce global climate change.

What is the evidence that climate change does indeed occur?

Research institutions around the world gather evidence for climate change. These include weather observations (in particular terrestrial, satellite and underwater temperature measurements and statistics of the occurrence of extreme phenomena), measurements of sea level changes, observations of shrinking ice sheets, observations of changes in the range of plants and animals, seasonal change and many others. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), operating at the United Nations (UN), collects information from research published in this field and presents it in its reports.

What is the climate policy?

Climate policy is a strategic and legal framework at the international level (e.g. Climate Convention - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, European Union (e.g. climate and energy package) and national (including a set of laws implementing the EU climate package, e.g. the act relating to greenhouse greenhouse gas emission allowance trading). The climate policy is essential to direct the development of the global economy towards a low-carbon economy. According to the Paris Agreement of 2015, the goal of climate policy is to stop the warming of the climate below 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial period, with the prospect of failing to raise the temperature by 1.50 C. This means eliminating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of this century (including balancing their emissions with their absorption, e.g. through forests and technologies for landfill), in other words - achieving climate neutrality.

What is climate neutrality?

Climatic neutrality is the balance between the emission of greenhouse gases and their absorption by forests (which can not be cut) or storage (e.g. in CCS or CCU technology). Climate neutrality is a much broader concept than simply "decarbonisation" because it concerns not only carbon dioxide, but also other greenhouse gases. However, this is a semantic difference, because in practice (in the context of climate policy) both terms are understood as eliminating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

What is the carbon footprint and how to reduce it?

The carbon footprint is an indicator showing how our life style affects the emission of greenhouse gases. Do you want to explore your carbon footprint? Calculate your impact on the environment with the help of a calculator on the site of Ziemia Na Rozdrozu.

What can I do to counteract climate change?

Above all, we should support climate policy (during election campaigns, meetings with government representatives and politicians). Decision-makers must feel support from the public that this is the direction that Poles demand.

We can also counteract climate change by making everyday choices in a way that will reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. It is necessary to reduce energy consumption, instead of going by car, choose an alternative transport - bicycle, public transport, trains, and limit the consumption of meat (the less the better). Do not buy unnecessary things, repair instead of replacing. Save electricity: turn off the light if you are not in the room, use energy-saving devices.

But first of all, let us demand a low-carbon energy policy and a quick exit from coal in Poland!

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