COP 25 is a final round of meetings after the Climate Action Summit in New York back in September. With COP25 being the final summit before the clock ticks over into the deadline year of 2020, Madrid was seen as a last chance to secure increased ambition. [1]

What is COP25?

The 25th Conference of the Parties is organised by the United Nations and it was held in MadridSpain, from 2 to 13 December 2019. The conference incorporates the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 15th meeting of the parties for the Kyoto Protocol, and a meeting of the parties for the Paris Agreement.[2]

It is  where representatives from more than 200 countries met to talk and to reach agreements how to fight against the effects of climate change.

Ahead of the conference the UN Secretary General António Guterres warned that « the point of no return was no longer over the horizon ».

How the conference was held?

Before the start of the conference, there were a lot of changes considering the hosting country. In the beginning, the conference was planned to be held in Brazil in November 2019, but the new President Jair Bolsonaro withdrew the offer to host the event, because of economic reasons. Then Chile became the new host, but social unrest in the lead up to the meeting forced it late October 2019 to withdraw from hosting as well. Finally, Spain became the new host.[3]

Despite this last-minute venue change, the event was characterised by debates and all-night sessions in which negotiators and representatives of governments from all over the world discussed texts and agreements that they needed to reach.[4]

At the start of the meeting, the UN secretary-general António Guterres, in the first of several interventions, asked attendees: “Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand?”[5]

There was a growing sense among many attendees of a disconnect between these slow, impenetrable UN processes and the action being demanded by protesters around the world.[6]

Friday For Future: Greta Thunberg’s impact

Climate activist Greta Thunberg was there too, she made the journey to Madrid by boat as an eco-friendly way to travel. At the end of the first week, Greta Thunberg joined a march through central Madrid that united half a million people.

Although, during her final speech at the conference, Thunberg said to those assembled in the main plenary hall that the COP “seems to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes”. After that, she was announced as Time Magazine’s “person of the year”.[7]

Results and outcomes of the conference

The results achieved by the representatives of the governments of the United States, Russia, India, China and Brazil disappointed many people. The European Union reached an agreement about « The European Green New Deal » that should lower its emissions to zero by 2050.[8]

A lot of commitments were made by countries, businesses and international coalitions. For example, the Climate Ambitious Coalition, contains now 73 countries committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

They also hoped to send a message of intent, signalling to the wider world that the UN climate process remains relevant – and that it recognises the yawning gap between current progress and global goals to limit warming.[9]

UN secretary general António Guterres said he was “disappointed” with the results of COP25 and “the international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis”.[10]

The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) own emissions gap report, released just prior to the COP, showed the stretch 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement is “slipping out of reach”. [11] In fact, emissions in 2030 will be 38% higher. Across the conference, the hashtag #TimeForAction was used and the presidency launched a “climate ambition alliance” to accelerate progress towards the Paris goals.[12]

In June 2020, in Bonn, it will be a new meeting and countries claimed that a “dialogue” is a need on the topic of the ocean and climate change to consider how to strength action. [13]

All of the participants were called to focus on the failure of many developed countries and that they did not meet all the assigned goals in the pre-2020 period.

Oleksandra Miroshnychenko
Master 1 Droit international – Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3

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Notes de bas de page :

[1] Climate-Diplomacy, “COP25: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Madrid”, 16 December 2019 date de consultation,.https://www.climate-diplomacy.org/news/cop25-key-outcomes-agreed-un-climate-talks-madrid

[2] The New York Times, Ernesto Londoño and Lisa Friedman, “Brazil Backs Out of Hosting 2019 Climate Change Meeting”, 02 January 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/world/americas/brazil-climate-meeting.html

[3]The Guardian, Jonathan Watts, “Brazil reneges on hosting UN climate talks under Bolsonaro presidency”, 28 December 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/28/brazil-reneges-on-hosting-un-climate-talks-under-bolsonaro-presidency

[4] UNFCCC, “UN CLIMATE PRESS RELEASE / 05 NOV, 2019 Information Update on Chile COP25, to be Held in Madrid on 2-13 December 2019”, 13 December 2019, https://unfccc.int/news/information-update-on-chile-cop25-to-be-held-in-madrid-on-2-13-december-2019

[5] Ibid.

[6] The New York Times, Ernesto Londoño and Lisa Friedman, “Brazil Backs Out of Hosting 2019 Climate Change Meeting”, 02 January 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/world/americas/brazil-climate-meeting.html

[7] BBC Newsround,” Climate change: What is Cop 25 happening in Madrid?”, 03 December 2019, https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/50627741

[8] UNFCCC, “UN CLIMATE PRESS RELEASE / 05 NOV, 2019 Information Update on Chile COP25, to be Held in Madrid on 2-13 December 2019”, 13 December 2019, https://unfccc.int/news/information-update-on-chile-cop25-to-be-held-in-madrid-on-2-13-december-2019

[9] UNFCCC, “EXTERNAL PRESS RELEASE / 11 DEC, 2019 Climate Ambition Alliance: Nations Renew their Push to Upscale Action by 2020 and Achieve Net Zero CO2 Emissions by 2050”, 13 December 2019, https://unfccc.int/news/climate-ambition-alliance-nations-renew-their-push-to-upscale-action-by-2020-and-achieve-net-zero

[10] Ibid.

[11] Caparrós, Alejandro. « The Paris Agreement as a step backward to gain momentum: Lessons from and for theory », Revue d’économie politique, vol. vol. 126, no. 3, 2016, pp. 347-356.

[12] Carbon Brief, Simon Evans and  Josh Gabbatiss, “COP25: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Madrid”, 15 December 2019, https://www.carbonbrief.org/cop25-key-outcomes-agreed-at-the-un-climate-talks-in-madrid

[13] Ibid.