U.N. climate talks get underway in a city that’s all about coal

Poland’s deputy environment minister, Michal Kurtyka, who is chairing the conference, urged envoys from almost 200 nations to use the time between Sunday and Dec. 14 to make progress on fleshing out the 2015 Paris agreement.

“We are here to enable the world to act together on climate change,” he said. With further meetings next year meant to build on what’s decided in Katowice, Kurtyka urged all countries to “show creativity and flexibility.”

“The United Nations secretary-general is counting on us, all of us to deliver,” he added. “There is no Plan B.”

The World Bank Group said Monday it is doubling funding for poor countries preparing for climate change to $200 billion over five years. It said about $50 billion will be earmarked for climate adaptation, a recognition that some adverse effects of global warming can’t be avoided anymore but require a change in practice.

The venue hosting the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland.KACPER PEMPEL / Reuters

The meeting, known as COP24, received a boost over the weekend when 19 major economies at the G-20 summit affirmed their commitment to the Paris accord. The only holdout was the United States, which announced under President Donald Trump that it is withdrawing from the climate pact.

“Despite geopolitical instability, the climate consensus is proving highly resilient,” said Christiana Figueres, a former head of the U.N. climate office.

“It is sad that the federal administration of the United States, a country that is increasingly feeling the full force of climate impacts, continues to refuse to listen to the objective voice of science when it comes to climate change,” Figures said.

While the United States is withdrawing from the climate pact, the State Department said it is sending a delegation to the Katowice conference.

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