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COP25 Madrid ends with disappointing compromise agreement

Negotiations at Madrid’s UN COP25 Climate Change summit ended on 15 December amidst a sentiment of disappointment. The talks commenced on 2 December and ended with a compromise deal, that saw an agreement reached on increasing the global response to cutting carbon. All participating countries have been requested to prepare a new pledge for next year’s summit, that is due to take place in Glasgow.

The conference was scheduled to end on 13 December, but talks were extended for a further two days because of disagreements on the larger issues such as financing and dealing with the loss and damage caused by man-made climate change.

A draft resolution document was delivered on Saturday 14 December but was found to be unsatisfactory, with many feeling that the resolution did not reflect the scientific evidence available. Spain’s acting Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, said the mandate was clear,

“Countries have to present more ambitious NDCs [nationally determined contributions] in 2020 than what we have today because it is important to address science and the demands of people, as well as commit ourselves to do more and faster.”

By the evening of 14 December there was still no sign of an agreement, prompting renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg to comment,

“it seems like COP25 in Madrid is falling apart right now. The science is clear, but the science is being ignored”

On 15 December Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres expressed his disappointment on twitter,

“I am disappointed with the results of #COP25. The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis. But we must not give up, and I will not give up.”

Laurence Tubiana from the European Climate Foundation, and a founder of the Paris agreement, said that the final outcome was, “really a mixed bag, and a far cry from what science tells us is needed.”

“Major players who needed to deliver in Madrid did not live up to expectations, but thanks to a progressive alliance of small island states, European, African and Latin American countries, we obtained the best possible outcome, against the will of big polluters.”

Positive agreements

Despite the disappointment, some positive agreements were reached. The European Union committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and 73 nations announced that they will submit an enhanced climate action plan or NDC’s (Nationally Determined Contribution). Hopes and ambitions for a cleaner economy were apparent at a regional and local level, as 73 Parties to the United Nations’ UNFCCC, 14 regions, 398 cities, 786 businesses and 16 investors are working towards achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Furthermore, the group will continue to work on the goals of the Paris Agreement and ultimately stabilise global temperature rise at 1.5C.

The follow-up conference will be held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 placing pressure on the UK. Environmental campaigners have warned the UK government and its newly re-elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that before leading other nations they must live up to their own climate targets and commitments, or face “humiliation”.

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