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Katowice talks 'a failure' as leaders fail to recognise urgency of climate challenge

CRITICS have warned that the COP24 climate change conference in Poland has failed in efforts to avoid environmental catastrophe after weeks of fraught negotiations.

Almost 200 nations gathered for two weeks of talks in the coal city of Katowice as they thrashed out an agreement in an attempt to curb global warming.

The conference, which started a day earlier than scheduled, extended the negotiations until Saturday as delegates finally agreed on a rulebook to implement the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change.

Under the rulebook, nations will commit to a series of regulations that will determine how countries cut carbon emissions, provide finance to poorer nations and monitor progress in achieving its goals.

However a move to welcome the findings of a damning report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which warned that the world only has 12 years to avoid 1.5°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, was blocked by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait.

Instead a compromise saw nations “welcome the publication” of the report. But Grenada’s minister for climate resilience and environment Simon Stiell warned that the compromise does not consider the extreme urgency of the situation.

Smaller island countries are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and some are at risk of disappearing completely due to rising sea levels.

Mr Stiell said: “We understand the need to consensus-build. And for small island developing states we have achieved our minimum — minimum — asks with regard to key issues.”

Another delegate described the deal as “what’s possible, not what’s necessary.”

The talks were nearly derailed by Brazil over the rules for the monitoring of carbon credits, however the discussions have been deferred until 2019.

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