What will make a difference at COP24?

(EurActiv, 26 Nov 2018) As thousands of delegates and observers are preparing to head to the small Polish mining town of Katowice, Jennifer Tollmann looks at what will make a difference at the 24th United Nations climate talks (COP24).

Jennifer Tollmann is a climate diplomacy researcher at the Berlin office of E3G, an independent think tank operating to accelerate the global transition to a low carbon economy.

Determining factor 1: The (Polish) Presidency

Alongside providing the logistical arrangements for a COP – quality meeting rooms, perogies, and coffee – a presidency also shapes where political attention goes during a session. The Polish presidency can make an impact by:

A) Using ministers to tackle political crunch issues 

Some particularly sticky issues – likely on commonality of rules and rules around finance – are going to have to be solved above negotiators pay grade. The Polish presidency can make a real difference here, by helping to ensure the Rulebook negotiations get political attention when and where they need. One of the most common ways to do so is to task ministerial pairs– from a developed and developing country- to lead discussions around specific crunch issues.

B) Choosing where to invest political and diplomatic capital

Guests and Fish are famously known to stink after three days. Oversimplifying slightly, every Presidency gets a base-level of political and diplomatic capital – diplomatic goodwill if you will – by their willingness to put up with the thousands of guests sticking around for COP.

Though Presidencies need to be impartial and respect the party-driven process, in sessions with numerous competing priorities the Presidency can decide what to throw their diplomatic capital into landing – and what to leave up in the air.

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EurActiv, 26 Nov 2018: What will make a difference at COP24?