COP25 to Be the Launchpad for Significantly more Climate Ambition

Bonn/ Madrid, 29 November 2019 – As the global climate emergency intensifies and greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow, governments will gather in Madrid for the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 (2 to 13 December 2019) to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process.

The conference will take place under the Presidency of the Government of Chile and will be held with logistical support from the Government of Spain.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change said: “This year, we have seen accelerating climate change impacts, including increased droughts, storms and heat waves, with dire consequences for poverty eradication, human health, migration and inequality.

“The world’s small window of opportunity to address climate change is closing rapidly. We must urgently deploy all the tools of multilateral cooperation to make COP25 the launchpad for more climate ambition to put the world on a transformational path towards low carbon and resilience,” she said.

A key objective of COP25 is to raise overall ambition also by completing several key aspects with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Last year at COP24 in Poland, the bulk of the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement were agreed, with the exception of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Article 6 is to provide guidelines for how international climate markets will work, as a key component of the world’s economic toolbox for addressing climate change.

Other focus areas at COP25 will include adaptation, loss and damage, transparency, finance, capacity-building, Indigenous issues, oceans, forestry, gender and more.

Notably, the provision of finance and technology is crucial for developing countries to green their economies and build resilience.

“While we have seen some progress with respect to climate-related financing for developing countries, we will continue to urge developed nations to fulfil their pledge of mobilizing $100 billion annually by 2020,” Ms. Espinosa said. “We also must see overall global finance flows reflect the deep transformation throughout society that we need: away from carbon-heavy investment and towards more sustainable and resilient growth. Drops in the bucket are not enough: we need a sea change.”

COP25 to  Set the Stage for Enhanced NDCs

In 2020, nations are to submit new or updated national climate action plans, referred to as Nationally-Determined Contributions, or “NDCs”.

According to the UN Environment Programme’s 2019 Emission Gap Report published this week, unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6 per cent each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

This means collective ambition would need to increase more than fivefold over current levels to deliver the cuts needed over the next decade for the 1.5°C goal.

“Current NDCs remain inadequate,” said Executive Secretary Espinosa. “If we stay on our current trajectory, it’s estimated that  global temperatures could more than double by the end of this century. This will have enormous negative consequences for humanity and threaten our existence on this planet. We need an immediate and urgent change in trajectory.

It’s achievable, but to stabilize global temperature rise by 1.5 Celsius by the end of this century, we need to reduce emissions 45 per cent by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. It’s an extremely difficult challenge, but meeting it is absolutely necessary to the health, safety and security of everyone on this planet—both in the short- and long-term.”

With regard to raising ambition, COP25 will be informed by the outcomes of the Climate Summit in New York in September and Climate Weeks in Africa, Asia and Latin America co-organized by UN Climate Change this year.

“At these key events, we saw an enormous groundswell of action, with many contributions from governments and  non-Party stakeholders, including regions, cities, businesses and investors. Their contributions are crucial to drive the transformation we need, said Executive Secretary Espinosa.

At the New York Climate Summit, Chile launched a Climate Ambition Alliance that brings together nations upscaling action by 2020, as well as those working towards achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

MORE

RELATED:

As COP25 host, Spain offers a just green vision
COP25: 200 countries pledge ‘green revolution’
Don’t pursue economic growth at expense of environment – report

Why We Strike Again

After more than a year of grim scientific projections and growing activism, world leaders and the public alike are increasingly recognizing the severity and urgency of the climate crisis. And yet nothing has been done.

thunberg1_EMMANUEL DUNANDAFP via Getty Images_climateprotestkidsEmmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

MADRID – For more than a year, children and young people from around the world have been striking for the climate. We launched a movement that defied all expectations, with millions of people lending their voices – and their bodies – to the cause. We did this not because it was our dream, but because we didn’t see anyone else taking action to secure our future. And despite the vocal support we have received from many adults – including some of the world’s most powerful leaders – we still don’t.

Politicians and fossil-fuel companies have known about climate change for decades. And yet the politicians let the profiteers continue to exploit our planet’s resources and destroy its ecosystems in a quest for quick cash that threatens our very existence.

Don’t take our word for it: scientists are sounding the alarm. They warn that we have never been less likely to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – the threshold beyond which the most destructive effects of climate change would be triggered.

Worse, recent research shows that we are on track to produce 120% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with the 1.5°C limit.The concentration of climate-heating greenhouse gases in our atmosphere has reached a record high, with no sign of a slowdown. Even if countries fulfill their current emissions-reduction pledges, we are headed for a 3.2°C increase.

Young people like us bear the brunt of our leaders’ failures. Research shows that pollution from burning fossil fuels is the world’s most significant threat to children’s health. Just this month, five million masks were handed out at schools in New Delhi, India’s capital, owing to toxic smog. Fossil fuels are literally choking the life from us.

The science is crying out for urgent action, and still our leaders dare to ignore it. So we continue to fight.

After a year of strikes, our voices are being heard. We are being invited to speak in the corridors of power. At the UN, we addressed a room filled with world leaders. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, we met with prime ministers, presidents, and even the pope. We have spent hundreds of hours participating in panels and speaking with journalists and filmmakers. We have been offered awards for our activism.

Our efforts have helped to shift the wider conversation on climate change. People now increasingly discuss the crisis we face, not in whispers or as an afterthought, but publicly and with a sense of urgency. Polls confirm changing perceptions. One recent survey showed that, in seven of the eight countries included, climate breakdown is considered to be the most important issue facing the world. Another confirmed that schoolchildren have led the way in raising awareness.

With public opinion shifting, world leaders, too, say that they have heard us. They say that they agree with our demand for urgent action to tackle the climate crisis. But they do nothing. As they head to Madrid for the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, we call out this hypocrisy.

On the next two Fridays, we will again take to the streets: worldwide on November 29, and in Madrid, Santiago, and many other places on December 6 during the UN climate conference. Schoolchildren, young people, and adults all over the world will stand together, demanding that our leaders take action – not because we want them to, but because the science demands it.

That action must be powerful and wide-ranging. After all, the climate crisis is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice, and of political will. Colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all. Our political leaders can no longer shirk their responsibilities.

Some say that the Madrid conference is not very important; the big decisions will be made at COP26 in Glasgow next year. We disagree. As the science makes clear, we don’t have a single day to lose.

We have learned that, if we do not step up, nobody will. So we will keep up a steady drumbeat of strikes, protests, and other actions. We will become louder and louder. We will do whatever it takes to persuade our leaders to unite behind science so clear that even children understand it.

Collective action works; we have proved that. But to change everything, we need everyone. Each and every one of us must participate in the climate resistance movement. We cannot just say we care; we must show it.

Join us. Participate in our upcoming climate strikes in Madrid or in your hometown. Show your community, the fossil-fuel industry, and your political leaders that you will not tolerate inaction on climate change anymore. With numbers on our side, we have a chance.

And to the leaders who are headed to Madrid, our message is simple: the eyes of all future generations are upon you. Act accordingly.

Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer, Angela Valenzuala
This commentary was also signed by Evan Meneses (Australia) and Hilda Flavia Nakabuye (Fridays for Future Uganda).

SOURCE