It is no mean feat for almost 200 nations to adopt a global action plan to limit damage from climate change. This was achieved at Katowice, in Poland, the venue of talks to bring countries together in meeting a key challenge to human survival. The Katowice Rulebook will implement the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change reached in 2015. The rulebook sets out a single system for countries to make emissions cuts under national climate plans and for how those plans can be reported regularly, measured, scrutinised and ramped up progressively. The goal is to keep global warming well below 2 deg C above pre-industrial levels - a target set out in the Paris Agreement - and to aim for 1.5 deg C, if possible.
The Katowice agreement is notable for several reasons. One is the triumph of scientific sanity over denial. It is astonishing that there is a denial of the reality of climate change even today. Climate change sceptics are unlike true scientists, who are open to others challenging their assumptions, methodological rigour and eventual conclusions. Instead, sceptics reject the scientific evidence of man-made global warming. The Katowice Rulebook underlines how the majority of nations accept the terrible reality of climate change and its horrendous consequences for this generation and generations to come. Since science and corresponding human action are necessary to deal with injuries to nature, the accord in Poland shows the collective way forward for a world under threat. It is regrettable that the United States, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia did not welcome the findings of a report which had found that half a degree of warming could have a significant impact on many countries. But the consensus on treating climate change as an existential global challenge was clear at Katowice.