OPEC and the U.N. Struggle to Find a Way Forward on Climate Change (in Photos)

One of the most urgent issues of our time is on the minds of world leaders this week.
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This week in Katowice, Poland, the United Nations began its 24th annual climate conference, the Convention of the Parties. Three years ago, at the COP in Paris that produced the famous Paris Agreement, the nations decided that this year's conference would involve writing a "rulebook" that would attempt to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. (Pacific Standard staff writer Kate Wheeling is in Katowice tracking the conference's progress and reporting on advancements in industries like shipping and aviation.)

Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is meeting in Vienna, Austria. The group, along with Russia, has agreed to reduce petroleum production in a bid to drive up prices, despite the displeasure of United States President Donald Trump. Oil prices have increased up to 5 percent in response.

And across the world, activists and young people are protesting and calling for action on climate change—in Australia, Germany, Poland, and elsewhere. A group of youth climate activists confronted COP24 directly, as Wheeling reported from Katowice:

"From environment defenders in Latin America to the Standing Rock Sioux in the U.S. to the anti-coal activists in the Philippines and right here in Poland, we're here, we're rising, we're resisting, we're fighting," Khan [a member of youth-led non-profit SustainUS] said in her address to developed nations, "but where are you?"

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A man walks past a mural outside the corporate headquarters of the JSW mining company on November 30th, 2018, in Jastrzebie Zdroj, Poland. JSW operates mines including the KWK Pniowek mine at nearby Pawlowice, Poland's largest coal mine, with 3,900 miners descending below ground to churn out 13.5 thousand tons of high-grade coal each day that will be destined for coking at steel mills across Europe. The United Nations COP24 climate conference began on Sunday in nearby Katowice.

A man walks past a mural outside the corporate headquarters of the JSW mining company on November 30th, 2018, in Jastrzebie Zdroj, Poland. JSW operates mines including the KWK Pniowek mine at nearby Pawlowice, Poland's largest coal mine, with 3,900 miners descending below ground to churn out 13.5 thousand tons of high-grade coal each day that will be destined for coking at steel mills across Europe. The United Nations COP24 climate conference began on Sunday in nearby Katowice. 

Students gather to demand the government take action on climate change at Martin Place on November 30th, 2018, in Sydney, Australia. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish student who led a strike outside Swedish parliament, thousands of students walked out of school in cities across Australia to demand government action on climate change. Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged students to stay in school, telling Parliament, "What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools."

Students gather to demand the government take action on climate change at Martin Place on November 30th, 2018, in Sydney, Australia. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish student who led a strike outside Swedish parliament, thousands of students walked out of school in cities across Australia to demand government action on climate change. Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged students to stay in school, telling Parliament, "What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools."

Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, President of OPEC and United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei, and OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo of Nigeria speak during a ministerial-level meeting with OPEC members and non-members during the 175th OPEC Conference on December 7th, 2018, in Vienna, Austria. OPEC is aiming to reduce production of oil and raise prices.

Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, President of OPEC and United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei, and OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo of Nigeria speak during a ministerial-level meeting with OPEC members and non-members during the 175th OPEC Conference on December 7th, 2018, in Vienna, Austria. OPEC is aiming to reduce production of oil and raise prices.

A woman collecting plastic to recycle at a plastic waste dump in Mojokerto on December 5th, 2018, in Mojokerto, East Java, Indonesia. Indonesia's second-largest city of Surabaya has recently been shortlisted by the Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation as one of the most sustainable cities among 900 other cities with its participatory waste management system and involvement of residents in various city projects such as the the "Suroboyo bus," a bus service launched in April that allows passengers to pay for tickets with used plastic bottles. Indonesia, which struggles with grid-locked traffic in its congested cities, is ranked the second-largest plastic polluter in the world behind only China, with reports showing that the country produces 187.2 million metric tons of plastic waste each year. Producing an average of 9,800 cubic meters of waste daily, Surabaya's residents hope to raise public awareness on issues that relate to plastic trash through initiatives like the Suroboyo bus, which is able to collect up to 550 pounds of plastic bottles a day.

A woman collecting plastic to recycle at a plastic waste dump in Mojokerto on December 5th, 2018, in Mojokerto, East Java, Indonesia. Indonesia's second-largest city of Surabaya has recently been shortlisted by the Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation as one of the most sustainable cities among 900 other cities with its participatory waste management system and involvement of residents in various city projects such as the the "Suroboyo bus," a bus service launched in April that allows passengers to pay for tickets with used plastic bottles. Indonesia, which struggles with grid-locked traffic in its congested cities, is ranked the second-largest plastic polluter in the world behind only China, with reports showing that the country produces 187.2 million metric tons of plastic waste each year. Producing an average of 9,800 cubic meters of waste daily, Surabaya's residents hope to raise public awareness on issues that relate to plastic trash through initiatives like the Suroboyo bus, which is able to collect up to 550 pounds of plastic bottles a day.

Activists hold placards and shout slogans against the energy policy of the German government during an anti-coal protest on December 1st, 2018, in Berlin, Germany. Protests took place in Berlin and Cologne ahead of the U.N. COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland.

Activists hold placards and shout slogans against the energy policy of the German government during an anti-coal protest on December 1st, 2018, in Berlin, Germany. Protests took place in Berlin and Cologne ahead of the U.N. COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland.

Activists hold placards and shout slogans against the energy policy of the German government during an anti-coal protest on December 1st, 2018, in Berlin, Germany.

Activists hold placards and shout slogans against the energy policy of the German government during an anti-coal protest on December 1st, 2018, in Berlin, Germany. 

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