Agreement on the fine print of the Paris climate accord drew closer Thursday, three years after countries sealed the landmark deal on curbing global warming, but negotiators remained divided on some of the thorniest issues and appeared set for overtime.
The talks finally ended with the 133-page Paris rulebook being unanimously adopted in the Polish city of Katowice.
Countries have been working for two weeks in Katowice, Poland, on a self-imposed deadline to produce a "rulebook" to flesh out details of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
The UN Secretary-General, however, qualified his praise for the negotiating nations saying that the approval of the Paris agreement work programme is the basis for a transformative process as this will require strengthened ambition from the global community. Similar efforts will be made at the global level.
"This was not an easy task. We can not accept any backsliding", Xie said through a translator.
"Through this package, you have made a thousand little steps forward together", said Michal Kurtyka, a senior Polish official chairing the talks.
Germany and Norway also announced expanded financial commitments for climate action, both, pledging to double their contributions to the Green Climate Fund, established to enable developing countries to act.
"The overall guidance reflects the principles of the Paris Agreement and recognises the leadership that developed countries have to display for achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement", the statement said. "It also notes with concern the current, urgent and emerging needs related to extreme weather events and slow onset events in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change", it said.
Comparability and transparency are important as the Paris Agreement is based on mutual trust and does not provide for sanctions if countries do not make progress.
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But to the frustration of environmentalists and a group of countries who were urging more ambitious climate goals, negotiators on Saturday delayed decisions on two other climate issues until next year in an effort to get a deal on them.
One major sticking point was how to create a functioning market in carbon credits. And so the USA was represented in the Poland talks and, at one point, made a presentation on the benefits of fossil fuels. The first report must be submitted by the end of 2024.
The final text at the United Nations talks omits a previous reference to specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and welcomes the "timely completion" of the IPCC report, not its conclusions. The decisions were "1,000 small steps forward".
"The foundations of the rules are still the Paris Agreement, which remains as strong as ever", she added.
Brazil blocked the completion of that chapter and negotiators will work to finish it at next year's Conference of the Parties (COP), to be held in Chile.
Kurtyka, president of the COP24, told Xinhua in an interview that China has been playing a "fundamental role" in pushing for a concrete outcome.
"We are seeing deadlocks in certain areas", China's Xie Zhenhua told journalists in Katowice, Poland.
Richer countries must explain how they intend to help poorer nations cut down on emissions as well as install more clean energy or build resilience against natural disasters.
Even though many countries have significantly improved their renewable energy regulations since 2010, there are still significant barriers to global progress on sustainable energy, said a latest World Bank report.