COP24: UN climate conference concludes with rulebook agreement
19 December 2018
The UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland, concluded this weekend with agreement by 196 countries on plans for a common rulebook for bringing the Paris Agreement into force by 2020.
The rulebook outlines how governments should report their greenhouse gas emissions and contributions to climate finance, as well as rules about voluntary market mechanisms such as carbon trading.
Governments also agreed to revise and enhance their climate action commitments, as described in so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), before 2020.
Representatives of IHA and its member organisations led discussions about hydropower’s contribution to climate change solutions, the highlight of which was the launch by Itaipu Binacional and the United Nations of a new Global Network of Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions.
“For the sake of our future generations, the time to act is now,” said IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor, a member of the Global Network’s steering committee, as he commended the Brazilian-Paraguayan hydropower operator and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs for the new initiative.
José Alberto Alderete Rodríguez, Itaipu’s Paraguayan Director-General, called on more organisations to be engaged to “combat climate change”. “It is time to act, to move from commitment to practice, and this is the vision we have,” he said.
"Itaipu works for the border region of Brazil and Paraguay, and for the world, especially to improve capacities in water and energy management, which is fundamental to promote sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 2030,” added Marcos Stamm, the organisation’s Brazilian Director General.
As a member of the International Renewable Energy Alliance (REN Alliance), IHA also participated in a joint side event on 11 December looking at the changes required to the global power sector if governments are to deliver the Paris Agreement.
"The energy transition means a fundamental transformation of the way we, as a global society, use, supply, buy and sell electricity," said IHA Senior Analyst Mathis, as he outlined hydropower's contribution in enabling countries such as Portugal and Costa Rica to achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity in 2018.
Pumped storage, floating photovoltaics and innovative co-location projects are all supporting growth in variable renewables, Mr Rogner noted, with hydropower continuing to innovate with digitalisation supporting new “smart” grids. “This will help hydropower evolve and do a better job of balancing variable renewables,” he added.
During the conference, IHA and the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a coalition of industry, civil society, governments and financial institutions, also launched new Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice. The 26 guidelines define expected sustainability performance around a range of environmental, social, technical and governance topics relevant to hydropower.
The COP24 conference was the last major event for the energy and hydropower sector in 2018, ahead of the World Hydropower Congress in May 2019, which is now open for registration.