Important COP25 begins
Published: 02 Dec 2019

The 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change, or COP25 for short, has begun in Madrid and will last for two weeks and will see political leaders gather to discuss climate change. And this one could not be more important!

Speaking before the conference, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: "In the crucial 12 months ahead, it is essential that we secure more ambitious national commitments - particularly from the main emitters - to immediately start reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a pace consistent to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

"We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions."

This Conference is happening just months after Mr. Guterres called a Climate Action Summit at the UN Headquarters in New York. The Summit was designed to focus the attention of the international community on the climate emergency and to try and increase actions to address and reverse climate change. COP25 will now try and ensure that the UN Convention on Climate Change and the 2015 Paris Agreement are being implemented by world leaders.

COP25 starts what is hoped to be a frantic 12 months of negotiations ending in the COP26 in Glasgow in November 2020. It is widely acknowledged that the time to take action is narrowing all the time if we are to keep the rising temperatures below 15°C.

This Convention is the final COP before 2020, which is a defining year in terms of the Paris Agreement, as every country that has ratified the Agreement (which is almost every country in the world) has to put new climate pledges on the table before the end of next year.

So far, over 70 countries have made a commitment to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, though some of the biggest polluters have not yet matched the agreement. In fact, it is probably no surprise that US President Donald Trump has decided against attending COP25, especially considering he is withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement.

However, it is hoped that the rest of the political leaders and 29,000 attendees will be able to work positively towards addressing climate change and to prevent a potential environmental and human catastrophe.