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However dull it may be, the operational rules for the 2015 Paris climate agreement will govern the way the world tackles climate change for decades to come.The key thing was not to unravel the carefully negotiated Paris agreement by having one set of rules for the rich countries and another one for the poor.

By that measure the conference was a success with China showing leadership by not pushing for a return to the old ways of countries who did, and countries who didn't. Also helping that effort was the US. Ensuring that the China and the US face similar regulations has long been a key of American policy.

Keeping everyone on the same page also delighted the EU. Climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete explained how the new rules would work. "We have a system of transparency, we have a system of reporting, we have rules to measure our emissions, we have a system to measure the impacts of our policies compared to what science recommends."

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To keep everyone in check, the rules will also contain a compliance mechanism, which means that countries that don't submit their reports on time will face an inquiry.The new regulations are "flexible" for developing countries, meaning they can sign up to the rules at a later date.One of the biggest rows at this meeting was over a key scientific report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).A group of countries including Saudi Arabia, US, Kuwait and Russia refused to "welcome" the IPCC study.They merely wanted to "note" the contents.

Many countries had worried that with the rise of nationalism in many countries and the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil's president, the international co-operation needed to tackle climate change might be in danger. For many getting agreement here in Katowice was less about technical rules and more about showing that the international spirit is still alive and has teeth.

"I think the beauty of multilateralism is that it is the effort of everybody," said Spanish Ecology Minister Teresa Ribera. "And what we have seen is that everybody has supported the package, no single country has decided to step down. "It is very difficult. It is like organising a party for 200 friends, and there's a single menu that everybody has to eat. It is not so easy but we have got it. That's fantastic!"

4. A win for the process but not for the planet?While negotiators have been congratulating themselves on a job well done in landing the rulebook, there are many voices here who feel that the agreement does not go far enough.They point to the strength of the science, and the public recognition of the impacts of climate change seen this year in heatwaves and wildfires.


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