Highlights of the COP25

After an unexpected venue change, the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25), which convened under the Presidency of Chile, was held from the 3rd to the 15th of December 2019 in Madrid, Spain. During the meeting, all governing and subsidiary bodies of the UN, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement convened with the aim to finalize the rulebook on the Paris Agreement (settle on the rules for carbon markets and other forms international cooperation under Article 6) and with the expectation of setting ambitious targets instead of procedural solutions. This session was viewed by many as the last chance to increase action before deadline year of 2020.

To emphasize the need for urgent action, the UNEP released its report on emissions prior to the COP25. This report stated that the 1.5 Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement is slowly slipping out of our reach. It further highlighted that with current projections, emissions are expected to be 38% higher than required to meet the target in the year of 2030, even if the Nationally Determined Contributions are met. The new Global Carbon Project report also states a continued rise of emissions from fossil fuels and industry is expected. Urgent action was also demanded by the growing number of protestors and activists marching through the streets of Madrid.

Views and interpretations on the subject of ambition diverged among the Parties. Therefore, talks on the common reporting framework broke down as well as many of the Parties requested more time to come to an agreement. Additionally, negotiations under the Rule 16 were postponed until the next year. The remaining issue of the Rulebook is Article 6 (carbon markets and other forms of international cooperation), which is expected to be resolved at the COP26 at the very latest. Agreeing on the key elements of this article would pave the way towards higher ambitions and a stable framework that would attract a higher number of private investors, thereby allowing for a scale-up in financing in the sector.

In the course of the two weeks, as part of the Climate Ambition Alliance, 177 companies pledged to cut emissions after the group of 477 investors prompted world leaders to update their NDCs and step up their ambitions. The European Union also set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. Furthermore, the European Commission presented its European Green Deal, which calls for cutting emissions by 50%, when not 55% by 2030.

Furthermore, the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy released a report titled The Expected Impacts of Climate Change on the Ocean, reminding the public of the serious economic consequences of the changing climate for ocean industry. Gender empowerment was also one of the primary themes of the negotiations. A significant decision was made on a new five-year gender action plan (GAP), intending to “support the implementation of gender-related decisions and mandates in the UNFCCC process, which takes into account human rights, fair transition and indigenous people”.

Source: https://www.carbonbrief.org/cop25-key-outcomes-agreed-at-the-un-climate-talks-in-madrid

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