US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Russia accused of blocking key text fully endorsing findings of historic report on impacts of 1.5C of warming
Simmering tensions at the COP24 UN Climate Summit in Katowice boiled over yesterday, as a bloc of just four countries – the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait – opposed proposals to strengthen the wording of the key negotiating text and officially “welcome” the findings of the recent IPCC report on the impacts of more than 1.5C of warming.
During tense negotiations on the plenary hall floor, the Maldives, which chairs the group of small island states, launched a push for the previous wording to take “note” of the report to be strengthened to “welcome” the report and its findings.
A raft of countries, including developing nations and the EU, rowed in behind the proposal, prompting a huddle with the plenary meeting’s chair, Paul Watkinson.
However, the group of four major oil and gas producers blocked the proposal, insisting a change to the text was not justified.
Observers said Saudi Arabia was particularly robust in its opposition to the change, effectively threatening to derail the second week of the talks if the stronger language was adopted.
Without a consensus, UN rules meant the contentious text was dropped.
But insiders signalled the row could resurface next week when Ministers start to arrive in Katowice for the final stretch of the talks. The vast majority of countries want to see an ambitious outcome from the two week summit, including the finalisation of the Paris Agreement Rulebook, recognition