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The long-anticipated United Nations climate conference has kicked off this week in the Polish city of Katowice. The 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will run until the 14th of December. Prime ministers, presidents, and organizations from around the world are meant to set out a formal Rule Book to implement the Paris agreement.
With all eyes on Katowice, the event is also internally important for the ruling PiS party. The government has already been criticized by the opposition on several organisational and political matters. Polish President Andrzej Duda has been criticized for, what some call, defending coal energy during his opening address. Duda argued that using a states own natural resources, coal in the case of Poland, does not go against climate protection. Poland has long-argued for a so-called Just Transition – an environmental transformation based on solidarity where economic development is maintained. The main opposition party PO has also argued that sponsorship of the event by Poland’s main state-owned energy companies, which rely on coal, is scandalous. Many key world leaders have also not confirmed their participation in the event, taking away credibility from COP24. With a tough start to the conference, national and international media will be following developments very closely for the next ten days.