COP25: 'We must not give up'

Date: 
Friday, 20 December 2019

Friday, 20 December 2019 | Madrid | Department of Global Communications (DGC) | UN News

Negotiations at the COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid ended on Sunday, wrapping up an event which saw much progress made by the private sector, and by national, regional and local governments.

However, there was widespread disappointment that no overall consensus was reached on increased climate ambition.

Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his feelings on Twitter, but refused to see the conference as a defeat, and wrote that he is “more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us is necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5 degree temperature rise”.

However, by Friday, when the conference had been expected to end, agreement on some important issues had been reached by negotiators, for example on capacity building, a gender programme, and technology, but an overall deal was held up over disagreement on the larger, and more contentious issues dealing with loss and damage caused by man-made climate change, as well as financing for adaptation.

Weary negotiators worked through Friday night, at the request of the Chilean president of the COP, but a draft version of the outcome text released on Saturday morning was reported to have underwhelmed all parties to the negotiations, with representatives of NGOs and civil society describing it as unacceptable, and a betrayal of the commitments made under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. 

By Saturday evening, there was still no sign of a deal, prompting acclaimed 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, one of the high-profile speakers at the Climate Action Summit held at UN Headquarters in September, to announce  that “it seems like COP25 in Madrid is falling apart right now. The science is clear, but the science is being ignored”.

Scottish bagpipes were heard in Madrid- marking next year’s climate conference, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland.

COP26, due to be held in December 2020, is being touted as an important milestone in the fight against climate change, because countries will be expected to present upgraded national climate plans, that go beyond commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement

Read the full story on the UN News website.