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Environmental groups criticise ‘morally unacceptable’ climate deal at Poland summit

Excerpt: Diplomats from around the world have agreed a major climate deal after two weeks of UN talks in Poland.

But climate campaigners warned the deal – effectively a set of rules for how to govern the 2015 Paris climate accord – agreed between almost 200 countries lacked ambition or a clear promise of enhanced climate action.

Activists cautiously welcomed elements of the plan, saying “important progress” had been made on ensuring that efforts to tackle climate change can be compared and the concerns of vulnerable countries are taken into account.

But environmental groups were also highly critical of the agreement, warning it lacked ambition and clarity on key issues, including financing for climate projects for developing countries.

The COP24 deal, which is aimed at providing firm guidelines for countries on how to transparently report their greenhouse gas emissions and their efforts to reduce them, was confirmed on Saturday evening after talks overran.

The agreement establishes rules to govern the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to cap temperature increases at no more than 1.5C.

However scientists say emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide need to drop sharply by 2030 to prevent potentially catastrophic global warming.

And the meeting postponed decisions on pledging more ambitious action to fight global warming and on regulating the market for international carbon emissions trading.

Jennifer Morgan, executive director at Greenpeace International, said: “A year of climate disasters and a dire warning from the world’s top scientists should have led to so much more.

“Instead, governments let people down again as they ignored the science and the plight of the vulnerable.

“Recognising the urgency of raised ambition and adopting a set of rules for climate action is not nearly enough when whole nations face extinction.”

Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said world leaders were in a “state of denial” about the problem.

“They’ve made important progress, but what we’ve seen in Poland reveals a fundamental lack of understanding by some countries of our current crisis,” she added.

“Luckily, the Paris Agreement is proving to be resilient to the storms of global geopolitics. Now we need all countries to commit to raising climate ambition before 2020, because everyone’s future is at stake. “