Dramatic protests by civil society organisations shut out the first event organised by the official delegation of the United States, as ministers began work on resolving the host of contentious issues at the climate change conference here.
At the Katowice meeting, countries are trying to finalise the rulebook, containing the processes and guidelines, for the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, that seeks to keep the global average temperatures from rising above 2 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.
After the first week of talks, negotiators had left most of the contentious issues for their ministers, who arrived Monday for the high-level segment, to decide.
Five groups of ministers, each comprising a minister from a developed and a developing country, have been constituted to lead discussions on five broad subjects that need to be resolved this week.
Meanwhile, a group of civil society organisations created quite a stir by disrupting a US administration event on clean fossil fuels. The US, which has decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement, had organised a side event to tell the world about how, despite having decided to continue with its fossil fuel industry, it would was reducing its emissions. “Keep it under the ground”, and “Shame on you”, the protesters shouted, asking the US to close down its coal mines.
Denouncing the US government, and describing the speakers gathered in the room as a “bunch of fools”, Aneesa Khan, a protester from SustainUS, an NGO, recalled flooding events in South India in recent years, including the one in Kerala earlier this year. She said inaction on climate change from countries like the US was “colonisation repeating itself”.
(Amitabh Sinha is in Katowice at the invitation of the Global Editors Network.)