10 December 2018

Big oil and gas nations sideline the science at Katowice, even as emissions rise and warming accelerates

By David Spratt

Delegates at COP24, Katowice. Credit: IISD/ENB - Kiara Worth
Just as four big oil and gas producers block the UN climate policymaking conference in Katowice, Poland from welcoming a report on the science of the 1.5 degree Celsius (°C) target which it had commissioned three years earlier in Paris, new evidence has emerged of the striking contradiction between word and deed at the 24th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP24).

In a deadly diplomatic strike, big fossil fuel nations took a key scientific report out of the Katowice text, replacing acknowledgement of the report’s compelling case for accelerated action, with a more ambiguous formulation which merely notes the report’s existence.

Objections from Saudi Arabia, the US, Kuwait and Russia to wording to "welcome" the 1.5°C report was enough to sideline it, with Saudi Arabia threatening to disrupt the last stretch of negotiations between ministers this week if the word “welcome” was not replaced by “note”.