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COP25: UN Climate change conference fails to address key climate issues, all you need to know!

COP 25: The extended UN Climate Change talks concluded on a disappointing note, as they failed to give way to concrete plans to respond to the growing climate urgency. 

Dec 16, 2019 13:07 IST
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COP 25: The extended UN Climate Change talks concluded on a disappointing note in Madrid on December 15, 2019. The climate talks were one of the longest-ever but they, unfortunately, failed to give way to concrete plans to respond to the growing climate urgency. 

The two-week-long climate discussions ended with formal recognition by the delegates of the need to bridge the gap between the greenhouse gas targets set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the current need, as scientists are of the view that the current targets will put the world on track towards reaching 3C of warming.

The governments responded to growing climate urgency with a partial admission that the current carbon-cutting targets were too week and that deeper cuts were needed. 

COP 25 Tagline: Time for Action.

Global carbon cuts 

The climate talks had extended two days beyond their official conclusion date on December 13. However, they still did not come to a conclusive agreement on global carbon cuts. The delegates agreed that a deal with improved carbon cuts will be agreed upon at the Glasgow climate conference in 2020. All countries will be required to submit their new climate pledges by then. 

Why current targets are not enough?

Scientists believe that if the countries follow the current targets, this would lead the world to 3C of warming, which would destroy coastal cities and agriculture across of the globe.

Heavy Polluters block key changes

The climate talks, despite being pushed overtime for almost 48 hours, failed to make significant progress as most rich polluters failed to recognise climate emergencies including the United States, Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia. 

Disagreements over Carbon market 

Some countries led by Brazil pushed for allowance of double-counting on carbon markets. Usually, when a country sells emissions reductions to another, it is required to adjust its own emissions data accordingly but now some nations insist that those be counted as well. Overall, the parties failed to create a proper system that manages to mitigate global emissions. 

No decision on long-term climate finance

The parties also failed to decide on long-term climate finance, which is the financial support given to the developing countries by the developed countries to fight against climate change. This was agreed upon in the Paris climate agreement. 

Conclusion 

The COP25 failed to live up to its expectations and failed to deliver, as per the current requirements. The master document for COP25 also failed to articulate the urgency for climate action, which was the tagline of the talks. 

The calls by small island nations and the European Union for higher ambition were also opposed by a range of countries including the US, Brazil, India and China. The richer nations will, however, have to show that they kept their climate-change promises in the years before 2020. 

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his disappointed by the result of the climate talks by saying that the international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on adaption, mitigation and finance to tackle the climate crisis. 

2020 Climate talks

The next UN Climate talks will be held in Glasgow, Scotland. This puts immense pressure on UK PM Boris Johnson to meet Britain’s own medium-term climate targets. Johnson has been under the scanner for his £28.8m road-building plans, which are not compatible with carbon cut targets.

Background 

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the world is now almost one degree Celsius warmer than it was before widespread industrialisation. The years from 2015 to 2018 were recorded to be among the top four warmest years ever. 

The World Meteorological Organization has warned that if the current trend continues, the temperatures could rise by 3-5C by the end of the century.

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