KATOWICE, Poland (Reuters) - Climate change talks billed as the most important U.N. conference since the Paris 2015 deal on limiting global warming are in their final week in Katowice, the capital of Poland’s Silesian coal mining district.
The aim is to meet an end-of-year deadline for agreeing a rule book on how to enforce action to limit further warming of the planet.
Below is a look at the mood around the event, held in a sprawl of temporary passageways and meeting rooms next to the Spodek, a flying-saucer-shaped sports and concert venue built on the site of the former Katowice coal mine.
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The Polish president of the talks said he hoped ministers would be able to unlock issues that technical negotiators have been unable to agree on.
“A new text has been released today and ministers are engaged on a number of subjects in order to solve issues which could not have been solved at the technical level and require a political arbitrage,” said Michal Kurtyka.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres returned to Katowice on Wednesday for the talks and said failure would send a “disastrous message”.
“To waste this opportunity would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change. It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal,” Guterres told delegates at the conference.
Earlier, Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu told Reuters the technical negotiators were exhausted and had almost given up.
Members of Gastivists, a network of grassroots movements against gas, disrupted a European Union side event organized by GasNaturally, an association of gas industry bodies.
“At the same time that the European Union has corporate fossil fuel lobbyists talking on their stage, the European Parliament is voting to extend fossil fuel subsidies for another 10 years,” said Kevin Buckland, one of the activists.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will stop financing coal projects and nearly all oil projects, it said on Wednesday, as part of a global effort by government-owned development banks to reduce climate change.
The bank was already prioritizing renewable energy and other “green economy” work but the move will now eliminate exceptions like Mongolia and Kazakhstan which get over 70 percent of their domestic energy from coal.
Reporting by Nina Chestney, Bate Felix and Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by Robin Pomeroy, Larry King