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Quick Background: Poland is hosting this year’s UN Climate Talks in Katowice, a city of 300,000 inhabitants not very well known for its tourism sector. Although Poland hosted previous UN climate summits in large cities such as Poznan and Warsaw, the choice for the provincial town – pronounced correctly by only a few UN delegates, and known by most as “Katowicii” – has brought a heavy logistical burden for all.

In a meeting yesterday, the incoming COP-Presidency admitted it will only be able to accommodate 20 – 25,000 participants at the UN conference.

That would be 1/3 smaller than last year’s conference, and less than half the size of Paris.

How does this compare: During last years conference in Bonn there were 37,000 participants. In Paris, there was a stagering 56,000.

Why could Katowice be bigger: Since COP24 will decide the “Rulebook” currently being negotiated here in Bangkok, it has long been labelled ‘the most important COP since Paris’. Wherever it is, you should expect a crowd.

What is the solution: To deal with this under-capacity, the Polish COP Presidency is planning to provide delegates with daily badges. Participants will no longer have to chose whether they will attend week 1 or week 2 of the negotiations (a norm), but rather which days they want to drop by.

Not just activists: This might mean many national delegations might come under pressure to cut down their team size as well

“We are stil working on it,” admitted incoming COP-President Michal Kurtyka, “let’s focus on Bangkok first.”

Arthur Wyns

About Arthur Wyns

Arthur Wyns is a tropical biologist and science journalist who writes about climate change, environment and migration. He manages Programs and Partnerships for Climate Tracker since 2017. With a group of biologists he founded Lonely Creatures, an organisation that brings under attention the stories of endangered species around the world.