UNFCCC

Conference of the Parties

COP 25

The UN Climate Change Conference – COP 25 – will take place in Madrid, Spain from 2 to 13 December 2019. Countries will negotiate more ambitious plans to limit global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement.

What has happened so far?

Following two weeks of negotiations, UN Climate Change Conference – COP25 has been concluded with a decisión taken on Sunday morning.

Governments have failed to respond to the emergency of the climate crisis as the talks fell victim to major differences between countries that are proving hard to resolve..

The UNFCCC released the following new negotiating texts this morning. On first analysis, observers complained that the text was weak on ambition. One said: “I didn’t think the [Chilean] Presidency could make the text any weaker – but they did.”

Observers of the summit in Madrid held G20 countries – especially with the US, Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia – and major oil, gas and coal companies responsible for undermining the climate ambition and blocking the progress for better response to this global challenge.

Canada, Japan, China and India were also faulted for their complacency as they failed to support vulnerable nations in the face of brutal impacts and push for a more robust collective response in 2020. The EU tried to play its role as bridge-builder between developing and developed countries. However, it will take a major diplomatic push and bigger leadership alliance to deliver substantial outcomes at COP26 in Glasgow.

Final Decision Text
Analysis of Text

2020 climate plans: strengthened urgency text directly pointing to emissions gap.

COP25’s final decision text “re-emphasizes with serious concern the urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation efforts in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 (…)”, at the same time that it “stresses the urgency of enhanced ambition in order to ensure the highest possible mitigation and adaptation efforts by all Parties.”

Despite this, the text is generally very circular (i.e. no clear one-sentence statement “in light of climate urgency encourages parties to submit enhanced NDCs in 2020”).

Carbon markets:

Negotiators failed to reach an outcome on carbon markets. In the final hours of negotiations, over 30 governments joined behind the San Jose Principles in an effort to preserve the integrity of carbon market rules and prevent loopholes and the ability for double-counting carbon credits.

Loss & Damage:

Santiago network established to lead more work on implementation to minimize, avoid and recover from loss and damage. However, the final text is weaker than the previous version.

In term of finance, it “urges” scale up of support by developed countries and other Parties in a position to do so, as well as private and non-governmental organizations, funds and other stakeholders; but then only invites the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board to continue providing resources for loss and damage, and invites it to take into account, within its mandate, the strategic workstreams of the WIM Executive Committee.

Oceans & Land

New UN work to commence on the ocean and climate change to consider how to strengthen mitigation and adaptation action; as well as in land and climate change adaptation-related matters.

Last night:

COP25 went into extra time last night in what late night observers said looked like a stalemate on key issues. At an early evening press conference, Chilean presidency coordinator Andrés Landerretche said he was “generally moderately optimistic” that a deal could be reached.

In the early hours, a diverse group of countries, led by Costa Rica, published a set of benchmarks for the carbon markets, or Article 6, track of negotiations. They called these “San Jose Principles a “minimum” signal of ambition. They were apparently intended to push back against Australia and Brazil, which want to transfer Kyoto-era carbon credits and allow “double counting”, respectively.

The UNFCCC released the following new negotiating texts this morning. On a first analysis, observers complained that the text was weak on ambition. One said: “I didn’t think the [Chilean] Presidency could make the text any weaker – but they did.”

Article 6 explainer

News:

Climate Home News: “Australia and Brazil carbon credits will put 1.5C out of reach, ten countries say”

Reuters: “Big polluting countries faced last-ditch pressure from smaller nations to show serious commitment to fighting climate change as negotiators battled into the early hours of Saturday to salvage a result from a fraught U.N. summit in Madrid.”

Climate Home News: “Negotiations at the UN climate talks are going into extra time as diplomats are at loggerheads over commitments to boost ambition and rules to set-up a new global carbon market.”

New texts:

RM text 
PR text
1/CP.25 text
1/CMA.2 text

Livestream - Press ConferencesSide EventsDaily Programme

Today and yesterday:

In Brussels: EU leaders (minus Poland) agreed on a 2050 climate neutrality target. It says all relevant laws and policies to be consistent with climate neutrality “while respecting a level playing field”. And the council “welcomes and supports” the European Investment Bank’s plan to support EUR 1-trillion in climate and environmental sustainability investment from 2021 to 2023.

Small island states had strong words yesterday. They called Australia a “black sheep” for its wanting to carry over millions of Kyoto-era carbon credits. “At this stage, we are being cornered. We fear having to conceded on too many issues that would undermine the integrity of the Paris Agreement,” said Carlos Fuller, AOSIS lead negotiator.

African states had strong words today. They demand high ambition that cuts emissions and supports them financially as they bear the brunt of climate impacts: “We won’t accept a lot of changes in the spirit of the Paris Agreement. This is really our red line, because we don’t want to compromise more on the development of our countries. Hopefully we have good news [after tonight], otherwise we can postpone the celebration for another year.”

In the news:

Climate Home News: “Trading carbon is widely said to make emissions cuts cheaper. But for whom? And why is it dominating climate diplomacy in Madrid?”

WATCH: Scott Morrison ‘completely rejects’ criticism of Australia’s climate policy

Australia Institute: “No legal basis for Australia’s carbon credit carry-over”

SMH: “Australia’s carbon trickery stoking India to pollute”

Side EventsDaily ProgrammeWebcast COP25

Today:

Fight back: Today at COP25, the world’s most vulnerable are pushing back out against the “few very influential parties” that “have stymied” negotiations here.

– The African Group of Negotiators, 11:30 in Chiloe on Africa’s view of the state of negotiations, and the enormous costs some expect it to carry to adapt to climate impacts, that it did not cause. (Postponed – we will update soon)

– 12:30 Amazon indigenous leaders, in Mocha. Expect more of the same.

– Citizens assemblies: a democratic response to reconcile climate action with social justice. 14:30, MOCHA. With Laurence Tubiana (European Climate Foundation), French citizens and assembly member Pierre from Metz, Dr Katherine Kramer (Christian Aid).

– And again, 15:00 Alliance of Small Island States ministers in Chiloe. They will “highlight what and who stands in the way of progress”.

Livestream these sessions

In the news:

Australia: The Guardian reports on new analysis that Australia is relying on Kyoto Protocol credits and “[reneging] on a pledge to make deeper emissions cuts”.

Japan: Yesterday, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi seemed stung by statements about Japan’s “coal addiction”.

Sunshine? “Planned extraction of coal, oil and gas is already enough to blow past the 1.5C target. And it is the big producers – US, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Russia and others – who consistently work to undermine even the demand-side restrictions the Paris deal encourages.”

Side EventsDaily Programme

“European Green Deal”: At 13:00 CET, the European Union will announce in Brussels a deal that would make it the first ever climate-neutral major economic bloc, and what that means through 2025. But its proposal for higher 2030 targets will only come in “summer” 2020, not long before COP26. It includes finance, just transition support and more.

“Low ambition”: An alliance of countries including Marshall Islands, Costa Rica, Norway, Bhutan, Germany, Grenada, Luxembourg and Sweden demanded on Tuesday that countries deliver tougher climate targets. “A few very influential parties have stymied efforts” said the Alliance of Small Island States.

Influence: COP25 observers explain that Saudi Arabia, Australia and Brazil are not agreeing on tougher safeguards for carbon markets. The US, EU and other developed nations are not coming up with new forms of finance to support poorer nations on loss and damage. India, China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and other emerging economies don’t want to commit to new carbon cuts.

Article 6 explainer

Chevron $10bn write down: Oil company Chevron is writing down its asset value by more than $10-billion, signalling worries about the long term value of oil and gas.

US and Saudi Arabia rank bottom of new global climate action rating.

Pakistan is working on plans for a domestic carbon market.

Dutch government to ban coal from 2030, climate envoy tells COP25.

Youth activist Greta Thunberg criticised leaders this morning, said “almost nothing is being done”.

Livestream - Press ConferencesSide EventsDaily Programme

Carbon Markets: The carbon markets (Article 6) discussion has started to heat up. There are six issues on the table: the transition to the new carbon markets regime, double counting, overall mitigation potential, accounting and governance and, of course, the financial angles. Still no new text as of this morning.

The Ambition Decision: The parties are expected to deliver boosted climate plans in 2020. How will they provide those plans? Key headline decisions underlining ambition will be crucial to set 2020 agenda.

Headlines of yesterday:

More than 600 asset managers demanded to end countries’ $5.1 trillion fossil fuel subsidies. The investors have $37 trillion assets under management.

Chile to present climate law targeting net-zero by 2050

Peru, Ecuador indigenous leaders protest Amazon oil drilling

COP26 host city Glasgow targets carbon-neutral future

Article 6 explainer

Today:

Michael Bloomberg and Harrison Ford are here: They will present the new report about America’s Pledge at 16:15 at US Climate Action Center in the COP25 venue in Madrid.

Japanese civil society is protesting Japanese coal policies with inflatable Pikachus at 10:30 – outside of the venue.

The High Ambitious Coalition will hold a press conference at 17:00 at Chloe Press Conference Room.

Livestream - Press ConferencesSide EventsDaily Programme

After a week of technical negotiations, national ministers and other high-level delegates arrive at COP25 today. Their job is to reach compromises and break the deadlocks left for them by negotiating teams.

Watching closely will be the estimated 500 000 people who marched through Madrid on Friday night, led by 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg (organisers estimated 500 000 while the Spanish government estimated 15 000). Also watching will be the one million people who recently marched in Santiago, Chile, and many more climate and social justice protesters around the world.

“You cannot have radical transformation without people being at the centre of the processes that plan it,” Climate Action Network International executive director Tasneem Essop told COP25 journalists last week. “The level of ambition in this COP must reflect the ambitions and demands of the people on the street, the poor, the vulnerable. We have a duty to ensure that what gets done here is what is needed out there.”

But many say the urgency on the streets was not matched in the halls of COP25, where countries’ technical teams haggled over their already established positions and reportedly gave little ground.

Experts suggest there has been a little progress on Article 6 (carbon markets), but not much. Parties are reportedly far from finding compromise positions on mobilising finance and support for loss and damage. And reports from an informal roundtable indicate that countries have very different ideas about what it would mean to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020.

Latest Texts

9:00: “Brazil at COP25: A Dialogue on Climate Ambition”. Ricardo Salles (Minister of Environment) Davi Alcolumbre (President of the Federal Senate) Joenia Wapichana (Federal Deputy, tbc), Fernanda Hassem (subnational governments), Caetano Scannavino (civil society), Luiz Cornacchioni (private sector), Karina Penna (youth). Brazil Climate Action Hub Blue Zone, Pavilion 8.

10:30: Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer and other youth climate activists (Mocha press conference room, Hall 4). Livestream here

14:00: media huddle with Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and key architect of the Paris Agreement, next to media centre.

19:00: US Climate Action Reporter Reception, at the US Climate Action Center, hall 6 (with food and drinks)

Livestream - Press ConferencesSide EventsDaily Programme

7 December

500.000 people asked for more ambitious climate action

People from all around the world marched on the streets of Madrid yesterday. It might have been the largest environmental demonstration Spain has ever seen. Young people, activists, indigenous groups, U.N. staff and many official delegates gathered and demanded leaders to respond to the climate emergency.

Climate Target Update Tracker

The Climate Action Tracker has today published its “Climate Target Update Tracker” that will track governments’ updated 2030 targets (NDCs) as part of their commitment under the Paris Agreement to update them by 2020.

The Tracker will analyze in detail both proposed and updated 2030 targets from the 36 countries covered by the CAT, and keep a list of updated NDCs for all other countries.

Climate Target Update Tracker

The U.S. Climate Action Center Kickoff

Representatives from states, cities and counties, tribes, businesses, investors and other organizations will be at the U.S. Climate Action Center. They will tell their stories about ambition and climate action.

We are still in is a growing moment with over 3800 signatories in all 50 U.S. states. They demonstrate America’s enduring commitment to delivering on the promise of the Paris Agreement and America’s contribution to it.

The U.S. Climate Action Center

6 December

New report: “Oil, gas and climate”

Out yesterday, this new report finds that the oil and gas industry are planning to invest more than US$1.4 trillion in new extraction. Projects are being planned for the US, Canada, Norway, Argentina and several other countries that will make it impossible to stay under 1.5°C of warming. The authors have called for Paris alignment through bans on fossil fuel licenses, removal of finances and subsidies and the creation of just transition plans for communities and workers.

Download The Report

Saudi IPO misses $2tr valuation

The Economist called Aramco’s IPO “a disappointment“. Valued at $1.7 trillion, Aramco overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable listed firm but fell significantly short of MBS’s $2tr target. It seems climate and political risks and poor corporate transparency put foreign investors off, and the kingdom was forced to abandon its ambition to raise $100 billion with an international listing of a 5% stake..

COP25: Parents plead for planet to be saved for their children

“In an open declaration signed by 222 associations from 27 countries, the concerned parents wrote: ‘Our children are being handed a broken world on the verge of climate chaos and ecological breakdown. As parents, seeing this is agonising.’”

5 December

Global Climate Risk Index 2020 – Who suffers most?

The Climate Risk Index 2020, an annual report by Germanwatch, is out now. It ranks countries according to their vulnerability to extreme weather events. Not only poorer countries are affected. Japan was the worst hit in 2018. Germany and Canada also suffered high losses. The results reflect the increasing damage caused by heatwaves, which scientists have found are being worsened by climate change.

Download The Report

4 December

Global Carbon Budget – emissions, going up

Madrid, 4 December – Breaking: Global Carbon Project’s annual report tracking carbon emissions is out today. Despite a decline in coal use, emissions are rising thanks to big growth in natural gas and oil. Current government emissions policies are too weak to achieve the “well below 2°C” global warming limit set out in Paris.

Download The Report

3 December

State of the Climate – World Meteorological Organization

Madrid, 3 December – This morning at COP25, WMO issued its Provisional Statement on the State of the Climate in 2019, an annual update on global climate indicators. The report details how the past decade was a period of “exceptional global heat, retreating ice and record sea levels driven by greenhouse gases from human activities”. According to a WMO statement: “Average temperatures for the five-year (2015-2019) and ten-year (2010-2019) periods are almost certain to be the highest on record.”

Download The Report
Read The WMO Statement

2 December

Madrid, 2 December – A bullish UN has opened COP 25, declaring the negotiations the “launchpad for significantly more action”. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has taken aim at the world’s largest emitters, which he says “are not pulling their weight”.

A quick check on WRI’s essential GHG tracker suggests his sights are trained on China, US, India, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Japan and the EU. Guterres’ message is in line with last week’s UNEP Emissions Gap report, which fingered leading G20 polluters as being complicit in continued investments in oil, gas, coal and forest loss.

This meeting will be judged on how it responds to the climate protests seen around the world this year and the rising toll of global climate impacts. Guterres said on Sunday that 70 countries have “committed to carbon neutrality by 2050” – a figure the UN hopes to see rising by next week.

Today’s star attraction is US speaker Nancy Pelosi, who leads a 14-strong US Democrat team. She said: “It is a privilege to accompany a high-level Congressional delegation to Spain to combat the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis.”

Why is it so important?

The next 14 months are critical for global efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions, which hit a record high in 2018. Under the Paris Agreement, governments agreed to update their climate plans by 2020.

Who will participate?

COP 25  will bring together heads of state, climate officials, non-governmental organizations, youth groups and local movements and other non-state actors to respond to the climate emergency.

Climate Emergency

Climate science is clear: the world faces a massive ecological and humanitarian crisis. The climate emergency is the defining and most urgent issue of our time, and it cannot be avoided without a global shift away from fossil-fuel dependency.

Climate Plans

Countries are scheduled to update their climate plans and boost their ambition by 2020 in line with the Paris Agreement. COP 25 is a moment to ensure they are aware of the 2020 calendar and start doing their homework.

Loss & Damage

The costs of loss and damage linked to climate extremes are rising every day. However, there has been little global progress in finding a way to pay for these. COP 25 will be a pivotal moment to review the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and start implementing a just mechanism to improve the climate resilience of those most in need.

Carbon Markets & Non-markets

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is supposed to clarify how a global emissions trading system will function, but countries have not yet agreed on how to implement it. A fair carbon market would prevent double counting of emissions and could help boost climate action globally.

2020 CLIMATE PROGRESS TRACKER TOOL

2020 is the year when we will see if the Paris climate deal can deliver. It is the first true test of the 2015 deal – a moment when it will become clear whether the 196 signatories can meet their promise to scale up ambition in line with what scientists say is needed. While Paris was based on national climate plans (Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs), they are not the whole story.

This open-access tracker tool, updated by researchers in the UK, Australia and the US, pulls together the many different climate pledges that have been made by nations, cities, businesses and others. Also included in the tracker tool are examples of progress across key sectors, current information on climate impacts, climate-related initiatives and key dates in the climate calendar.

Studies – The latest publications on global climate action

The report presents the latest data on the expected gap in 2030 between the amount of global emissions that would allow the world to meet Paris-agreed temperature targets and countries’ actual and estimated future emissions under different scenarios. For the first time, it looks at how large annual cuts would need to be from 2020 to 2030 to stay on track to meeting the Paris goals.

The world needs to cut global emissions by 7.6% every year for next decade to meet the 1.5°C Paris target, the Emission Gap Report concludes.

The report also finds that global emissions continued to increase by 1.5% per year during the last decade. Countries must act immediately and increase their climate commitments (NDCs) more than fivefold to achieve the 1.5°C goal.

WMO issued its Provisional Statement on the State of the Climate in 2019, an annual update on global climate indicators. The report details how the past decade was a period of “exceptional global heat, retreating ice and record sea levels driven by greenhouse gases from human activities”. According to a WMO statement: “Average temperatures for the five-year (2015-2019) and ten-year (2010-2019) periods are almost certain to be the highest on record.”

Global Carbon Project’s annual report tracking carbon emissions is out today. Despite a decline in coal use, emissions are rising thanks to big growth in natural gas and oil. The report projects that Global CO2 emissions are projected to rise by 0.6% in 2019.

Current government emissions policies are too weak to achieve the “well below 2°C” global warming limit set out in Paris.

The Climate Risk Index 2020, an annual report by Germanwatch, is out now. It ranks countries according to their vulnerability to extreme weather events. Not only poorer countries are affected. Japan was the worst hit in 2018. Germany and Canada also suffered high losses. The results reflect the increasing damage caused by heatwaves, which scientists have found are being worsened by climate change.

This new report finds that the oil and gas industry are planning to invest more than US$1.4 trillion in new extraction. Projects are being planned for the US, Canada, Norway, Argentina and several other countries that will make it impossible to stay under 1.5°C of warming. The authors have called for Paris alignment through bans on fossil fuel licenses, removal of finances and subsidies and the creation of just transition plans for communities and workers.

The Production Gap Report – produced by leading research organizations and the UN – is the first assessment of the gap between the Paris Agreement targets and countries’ planned coal, oil and gas production. It provides a new metric for assessing the world’s current pace of fossil fuel extraction and details the steps countries can take to align fossil fuel supply with Paris goals.

This new report finds that the countries are planning to produce far more coal, oil and gas than is possible if they want to limit warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. These fossil fuel plans create a “production gap” that makes climate goals much harder to reach. The report calls for a sharpened and long overdue focus on fossil fuels.

The Brown to Green Report 2019, the world’s most comprehensive review of G20 climate action, shows none of the G20 countries is on track to meet Paris goals. Covering 80 indicators, the report reveals that many of the G20 countries’ current 2030 climate targets under the Paris Agreement are too weak.

However, the report also finds that those countries can quickly raise their ambition if they leverage the existing potentials and opportunities.

The G20 countries are technically and economically capable of ramping up ambition and reducing their emissions. They can take effective measures to adapt to climate impacts and to green their financial systems for the benefit of all.

“We can win this race”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres' Climate Action Summit in September 2019 succeeded in drawing the line between countries that are acting in response to the science (mostly small nations) and those that are not. It also exposed the huge challenge countries now face in limiting warming below dangerous levels.

Concluding the summit, the Secretary-General told world leaders: “You have delivered a boost in momentum, cooperation and ambition. But we are not yet there. We need more concrete plans, more ambition from more countries and more businesses. I repeat my appeal: no new coal power plants should be built after 2020. I want to tell you clearly – we can win this race.”

IPCC highlights the urgency of climate action

The scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessed existing science and presented evidence of accelerating climate breakdown. The IPCC published three special reports on climate change with a mandate from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

These reports show:

  • Climate science is clear; carbon pollution is leading to a massive ecological and humanitarian crisis.
  • Devastating climate catastrophe can be prevented by limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
  • This would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.

Global Warming of  1.5 °C

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Climate Change and Land

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The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

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