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Paris Agreement: Ship Moves Out of the Drydock

An Assessment of COP24 in Katowice

Wolfgang Obergassel, Christof Arens, Lukas Hermwille, Nicolas Kreibich, Hermann E. Ott, Hanna Wang-Helmreich


Last year's conference of the global climate change regime took place from 2 until 15 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland. The conference had two main objectives: operationalising the Paris Agreement by adopting detailed rules for its implementation, and starting the process of strengthening Parties' climate protection contributions. This article covers the negotiations on these two sets of issues and also includes a discussion of other recent climate activities by Parties and non-Party actors. Success of the negotiations in Katowice was far from assured, but in the end COP24 concluded with the adoption of the ‘Katowice Climate Package’ setting out detailed guidelines on how to implement its various elements. However, the conference fell short on the first objective, none of the major emitting countries was ready to step up its climate ambition. The most important aspect of the Katowice outcome is therefore that it has brought the wrangling about implementation procedures to a close, making way for the true task at hand: the strengthening of national and international activities to protect the climate and the implementation of the existing pledges. Arguably, a key factor that has been slowing down climate policy is the power of entrenched interests. The article therefore concludes with a reflection on how such barriers to climate action may be overcome and what role future COPs may play in this regard.

Wolfgang Obergassel, Head of Research Unit, Wuppertal Institute; Christof Arens, Project Co-Ordinator, Wuppertal Institute; Lukas Hermwille, Project Co-Ordinator, Wuppertal Institute; Nicolas Kreibich, Research Fellow, Wuppertal Institute; Hermann E Ott, Head of German office, Client Earth; Hanna Wang-Helmreich, Research Fellow, Wuppertal Institute. For correspondence: Wolfgang Obergassel <>, Christof Arens <>, Lukas Hermwille <>, Nicolas Kreibich <>, Hermann E Ott <>, Hanna Wang-Helmreich <>.


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