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The technical side of the talks at COP24 have been dominated by negotiations aimed at finalising the Paris “rulebook”, the detailed guidelines needed to bring the Paris Agreement to life. But a fight led by the US and Saudi Arabia over how to acknowledge the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on 1.5C, a US side-event promoting coal and Brazil’s decision to pull out of hosting the COP25 talks next year have provided a unsettled backdrop.

Carbon Brief asked a range of delegates at COP24 how they think the Paris Agreement can stay on track in a world with the likes of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and the US’s Donald Trump in office.

The video above contains the thoughts of…

Bahareh Seyedi, energy policy specialist at the United Nations Development Programme: “Political leadership is absolutely critical to the process…[But] if you look at the role that cities, local and regional governments, and businesses are playing, that’s huge on its own.”

Tessa Khan, co-director, climate litigation network at Urgenda: “Regardless of what’s happening at the international level, what we’re seeing within countries is people turning to their courts to hold their governments accountable for their commitments to act on climate change.”

Dr Kat Kramer, global lead on climate change at Christian Aid: “Hopefully by the time that the US and Brazil have leaders who are willing to lead on this issue, the rest of the world will have started the transformation it needs to have made.”

Tom Steyer, founder and president, NextGen America: “It’s going to be a combination of two things. One is technology, the ability for [emissions cuts] to happen in a way that lets countries grow and prosper. The other inescapable need is the need for true, global leadership.”

Niranjali Manel Amerasinghe, senior associate at the World Resources Institute: “Finance is something that helps to enable more ambitious climate action across the world, particularly in developing countries…Multilateral development banks recently announced that between 2021-2025 they will give $200bn towards climate finance, which is a big step.”

Amanda Da Cruz Costa, Brazilian youth delegate, Engajamundo: “One positive thing that happened in Brazil is that civil society is getting closer. We are working with other organisations in Brazil and other countries to transform the world and save the planet.”

Lou Leonard, senior vice president for climate change and energy, at WWF-US: “For too long we have imagined that the way to solve the climate crisis is to rely on national governments to lead the way. That was always a misunderstanding of how change happens. What we’ve since Donald Trump was elected president in the US is that the movement of companies, mayors and governments has risen to fill the vacuum.”


[This article originally appeared in]