In Katowice, Poland, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or COP24 as generally known, takes place with the message that “climate change is running faster than we do” as stated by the UN Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres at the opening ceremony of the Conference. The goal remains the same as in COP23 to assess the impact of countries’ efforts to maintain or reduce their emissions to meet the Paris Agreement target of 2 °C, pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 °C. This year’s annual Conference of the Parties is crucial for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was signed in 2015, since the countries are aiming to finalize a detailed set of rules to put the adopted accord into practice worldwide. Adopting a clear and comprehensive Work Programme consistent with what was agreed in Paris is necessary for putting the Agreement into practice, especially under the light of the recent special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that warming could reach 1.5 degrees as soon as 2030, with devastating impacts.
Businesses, local governments, cities and other organizations play a key role in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient world, as was recognized in the Paris Agreement. The sharing of experience from the private sector side, on the conditions to achieve sustainability in practice, is extremely valuable. Under this perspective, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) plays an active role in the Conference, represented, among others, by Dr. Dionysia – Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Head of the Working Group on Water of the ICC Commission on Environment and Energy and Chair of the Commission on Environment and Energy of the ICC Hellas. Dr. Avgerinopoulou will, having a strong background leading business engagement on sustainable development, draw attention to the need for transparency to facilitate long term private sector planning and investments as well as to the necessity of promoting low carbon and environmentally friendly technologies and products. Dr. Avgerinopoulou strongly believes that involving the private sector in defining a clear and comprehensive Paris rulebook is essential to achieving a just transition and tackling the climate challenge, while promoting simultaneously a sustainable economic growth as the Work Programme will provide the framework upon which businesses could strengthen their climate action. After all, “any delay in taking action will make it more difficult and more costly to tackle climate change,” as the presidents of the four previous COPs have stated.