Solar not in COP24’s spotlight


Although solar power was touched upon in several discussions, there were few dedicated PV presentations, with the India “pavilion” at the conference area away from the all-important plenary negotiations a notable exception.

“I’m not sure of the industry… they’re not here, really,” Nils Røkke told pv magazine at the conference. “We don’t see the large manufacturers around here with the huge displays. You used to see that before, in Copenhagen for instance. I think they should be [present]. This is the people that are going to make this happen, to make those gadgets which you need in the field, so their voice should be better heard in these negotiations.”

British developer Proinso did present at the COP 24, in the British pavilion, although there was a low turnout.

The company’s head of marketing and communications, Masa Njegovan, said it may be because solar has gone mainstream, and could be an encouraging sign.

“I wouldn’t say it’s surprising that solar is not a key message,” she told pv magazine at the show. “But on the other hand, I would say that although it might not be a key message and key topic of main presentations, I’ve seen quite often in presentations – very strategic presentations – where they talk about renewables they emphasize that solar is perhaps taking a leading role, and taking a leading role versus wind as well.”

Read pv magazine’s live blog from Katowice for an impression of the event from our perspective.

The deal

There was hope that this year, the world’s politicians would react to the stark warnings issued stating that we have no more time to negotiate and that we must take concrete action to reverse man made global warming.

We may be ever the optimists, yet at the same time, it appears we struggle to either learn or change our habits, with politicians rather more preoccupied with their continued tenure than promoting positive change.

Some food for thought:

Unfortunately very predictively, COP 24 did not result in any groundbreaking deals being made. Indeed, we are still far way from the goal of keeping warming under 2 oC, with the U.N. World Meteorological Organization saying we are actually on track for a 3-5 oC rise in temperatures this century.

Negotiations to work out a new rulebook by 2020, when the Paris Agreement comes into force, ran into Saturday night. The key highlight of the eventually agreed upon deal was a new regime where countries must report their emissions and their progress in cutting them, every two years, as of 2024 (if we make it that far). The details, however, were said to be lacking.

Sadly, fossil fuel loving Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Sates dug their heels in when it came to how seriously the findings of the IPCC report should be taken.

“Katowice has disappointed the expectations of millions of people, and this climate conference has failed to answer the most pressing question: When will governments finally start to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, according to the unequivocal report of the IPCC and global rising CO2 emissions? The people of a climate conference decisions that accelerate the exit from coal and oil 1.5 degrees, and thus the survival of entire states can not be achieved with wind-soft appeals, but only with effective and binding contracts.The same are not in the decisions to find,” said Greenpeace CEO Martin Kaiser.

He continued, “The only light shimmer of this climate summit is the adopted rules. It creates transparency and thus the basis for more trust between the states. These instructions for use set an engine for the Paris Agreement. It could be a stronger one, but at least the implementation can finally pick up speed.”

“The UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, has come to an unsatisfactory conclusion after a tough struggle for more ambition in climate protection,” said Simone Peter, President of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE).

“Although the IPCC reports have been recognized as groundbreaking and all states must present better climate protection targets by 2030, how they actually achieve that is completely unclear. It is up to the nation states, what they make from the decisions of Katowice. ”

General Manager of the German Association of the Chemical Industry, Utz Tillmann added, “Unfortunately, global rules for carbon prices and suitable market instruments have not made it into the rulebook. This makes it much harder for companies in Europe to handle the significant investment in lower-carbon technologies. “According to Tillmann, CO2 price expectations are still very different worldwide. “CO2 markets with the same rules for all major issuers would be the silver bullet for reducing global emissions,” he said.

Luckily, even in the face of such a deep lack of political will, there are some people who are willing to take matters into thier own hands. Take 15 year old Swedish Greta Thunberg, who regularly misses school to protest climate change outside of Sweden’s Parliament. Reportedly, she told world negotiators at the COP24 conference that they are “not mature enough” to “tell it like is” when it comes to climate change.

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