A delegation of Griffith climate change research leaders will use their attendance at the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland to learn and engage with government organisations, NGOs and research institutions to work towards enacting the terms of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The conference, or COP24, is the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and its primary aim is to reach a consensus for worldwide governments on the Paris Agreement ‘rulebook’, which aims to limit the rise of average global temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius.
Plans for implementing the Paris Agreement were assigned for negotiation at future talks with the deadline set for COP24, taking place in Katowice December 2-14.
More than 30,000 attendees from 200 countries representing 200 organisations are expected to attend the conference. Griffith is among the Australian universities that is sending a delegation to the COP. Engaging at the highest levels of global climate policy is particularly important given Griffith’s strong focus on research-driven teaching and research excellence, and strategic investments in programs such as Griffith Climate Change Response Program.
The Griffith delegation will include Dr Johanna Nalau from the Griffith Climate Change Response Program (GCCRP); Dr Tim Cadman from the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law; Dr Samid Suliman from Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research; Dr Ed Morgan from Cities Research Institute and GCCRP.
Dr Nalau’s research focuses on understanding how institutions, including those at the global level, make decisions on how to adapt to climate change. She said COP24 was particularly important as it will focus on defining how the different elements of the Paris Agreement will be governed and reported on.
“Of particular interest to me are discussions around the global goal on adaptation, its measurement and reporting, negotiations on Loss and Damage, and also the increasing participation of Indigenous People via the Indigenous People’s platform,” she said.
“As part of my role as the Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment report, I am also keen to engage in conversations about policy relevant adaptation science and meet with country delegates to hear their experiences on adaptation.”
Dr Tim Cadman has been a researcher and practitioner of sustainable development for nearly 30 years. He said ensuring the good governance of any response to combatting climate change was vital, as lack of transparency and accountability, and other problems of poor governance threaten to undermine the effectiveness of the global response to climate change embodied in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
“This upcoming conference=is probably one of the most important meetings to address climate change under the Convention,” Dr Cadman said. “The so-called ‘Paris Rulebook’ will set out the governance of mitigation and adaptation activities, and how they are financed, and reported, for decades to come.
“If these arrangements are not finalised at Katowice, it is unlikely that government responses to global warming will have the desired impact. In fact, they could make it worse. It is vital that national governments reach a consensus on the rulebook at COP24.”
Dr Ed Morgan said COP24 gives researchers the chance to learn about the issues that countries are focusing on and struggling with, which helps to direct research to be policy-relevant at a global level.
“If there is to be a concerted global response to climate change this COP needs to be successful,” Dr Morgan said.
“Universities and other NGOs play an important role as observers to ensure that the process is as transparent as possible.”
Dr Samid Suliman said the 2015 Paris Agreement acknowledged that climate change action should respect the rights of migrants, and discussions to implement the Agreement should engage with the rights and protection of ‘climate migrants’, now and into the future.
“As a researcher on the politics of migration, I am attending COP24 to observe whether (and to what extent) the principles enshrined in the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration are informing discussions about global climate governance,” Dr Suliman said.
“Of particular interest to me is how the recommendations contained in the Report of the Task Force on Displacement are received and discussed in the context of the finalisation of the ‘Paris Rulebook’ in Katowice.
“This is important because this agreement will have a significant bearing about how the ‘climate migration’ is governed in a changing climate. It is my hope that the climate governance agenda will become more ‘migrant-oriented’ after COP 24.”
Dr Rob Hales is the director of the Griffith Centre for Sustainable Enterprise which is a strategic Centre in the Griffith Business School. The Centre aims to facilitate research on sustainable business and climate change within the Griffith Business School.
“The argument for taking positive action on climate change has sound economic foundations. However, it will be interesting to see how the cost of action will be used by the some countries to justify action (or inaction) in the negotiation process. The economic justification of national climate change mitigation and adaptation effort is vital for the scaling up of INDCs (Intended National Determined Contributions) because the cost of inaction grows by the year,” he said.
Dr Nalau will speak in several panels at COP24 where she will discuss climate adaptation research in the Pacific, economic diversification as an adaption strategy, and the implications on what 1.5 degrees Celsius warming means for island nations and where limits to adaptation are likely to emerge.
The Griffith delegation is also supporting the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) at their side event titled “Needs-based Climate Finance for Melanesian Communities and Forests”, with GCCRP giving presentations on the work and supporting panel discussion.
Griffith is also partnering with Wild Heritage to sponsor their session, “The critical role of Biodiversity Protection and Ecosystem Integrity in Climate Mitigation Outcomes for Land and Forest-based Climate Action”.