How did COP24 in Katowice perform?

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The agreement on the 'Katowice Climate Package' was applauded and celebrated on Saturday night. Is it worth celebrating from the employers' point of view as well? Yes, it is – for several reasons – but there is still a lot to do, says Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala, Vice-President of the Employers' Group.

Since expectations were not high ahead of the COP24 climate conference, reaching an agreement can be considered as a victory of multilateral cooperation. Despite considerable differences in the views of the various countries and country groups, consensus was finally found. This provides the business environment with better long-term stability and predictability, which is crucial for the development of technologies and investment in production and infrastructure.

The agreed rules on monitoring and reporting are welcome, as they increase the necessary transparency regarding the amount of emissions and the actions to reduce them. These rules also contribute to bringing all countries on board and pave the way towards a more level playing field. The negotiators could not, however, agree on the rules on market mechanisms. New impetus is now needed to foster global carbon markets. This must be seen as a matter of increasing cost-effectiveness in a transparent and reliable manner.

The agreement provides some guidance on how to proceed with respect to raising the level of ambition of emissions reductions. All in all, Governments have a lot to do in setting the right conditions for achieving the demanding goals of the Paris Agreement, particularly in the light of the message of the IPCC report. But the good news is that the spirit at the COP24 in Katowice clearly showed the ever-growing enthusiasm for action by civil society.

It is companies and other civil society actors who bring about change in practice. Ever more companies place the climate challenge at the heart of their business strategy and daily operations. They now have a somewhat clearer framework and a bit more certainty to continue their efforts to innovate, invest and trade in products, technologies and services that contribute to climate change mitigation.