COP24-Slow Food: “Almost a failure…”

After much deliberation and an extended deadline, the Conference of Parties – COP 24 has closed in Katowice, Poland, with a day’s delay with an agreement reached at the last minute. Representatives from 196 States, in talks since December 3 to establish binding rules for the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, have avoided a failure that would have entailed “suicidal” consequences, in the words of the United Nations Secretary-General.

In the end, a 156-page text defines the monitoring tools by which countries will measure the progressive reduction of carbon emissions, outlines the support to be given to poor countries to mitigate the consequences of climate change already underway, and to initiate energy transition measures and mechanisms to control the global situation.

Born with a rather technical objective, this COP was charged with a strong political aspect, due to the growing alarm raised by the report delivered by the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a faster than expected increase in the temperature of the planet, and to the fact that the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have joined forces to prevent the conference from fully accepting the results of the IPCC. Australia joined the United States in a coal celebration, while Brazil signalled its climate scepticism with Jair Bolsonaro at the helm, by withdrawing its offer to host next year’s talks. A paradoxical situation, in which a small group of countries held hostage the other 190, in total disregard for the serious risks that climate change is already causing humanity to experience.

“In other times and in a less worrying environmental context, we could perhaps have welcomed the agreement reached at the end of the conference. However, taking into account the IPCC alerts, which are becoming more dramatic every day, and knowing how much governments tend to fall short of what is provided for in this type of agreement, we cannot pretend to be either satisfied or optimistic”: this is the first comment of Slow Food, the international association present in 160 countries around the world, which for over 30 years has been committed to bringing balance to food, agriculture, the environment and workers’ rights.

“At this point, it is necessary to put pressure on all governments to immediately start working to respect at least the commitments made in Katowice, with the hope that this will create better conditions for the agreements to be reached at the next COP (to be held in November 2019 in Chile). At the same time, it is essential that citizens, businesses and civil society are increasingly involved in the urgent transition from the current model of development based on fossil fuels to a model of decarbonized economy. Slow Food, also through the Food for Change, campaign, invites us to consider food, starting from our daily choices, as the first tool for change: our current food system is one of the main causes of climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions (and perversely, agriculture is among the first victims of climate change), so through more conscious and responsible choices we can all contribute concretely to the rapid change of direction that mankind needs to ensure its survival”.

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