COP25 to keep ocean focus despite moving to Madrid

(Eco Business, 20 Nov 2019) Next month’s UN climate talks have moved from Chile to Spain but will retain the ‘blue COP’ theme.

Civil unrest led the leader of Chile to back away from hosting this year’s major UN climate summit, COP25, in the capital Santiago. But the country will remain president of the COP in its new location, Madrid.

As Madrid prepares to welcome national delegations, journalists and activists from 2-13 December, the summit’s agenda will not greatly change, with the main goal being to finish the rulebook on the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“I expect that the focus on the ocean at COP25 will be maintained regardless of the change of venue,” said Rémi Parmentier, coordinator of Because the Ocean – an initiative comprising more than 30 countries, including Chile and Spain, to bring the ocean into climate change policy.

The global ocean regulates the climate by exchanging energy and water with the atmosphere. Ocean currents distribute heat from the tropics to the poles and down into the deep sea, determining rainfall patterns and surface temperatures, which in turn influence regional climates.

The ocean has absorbed about 93 per cent of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions since the 1970s. The increasing water temperature is dramatically changing ocean circulation and thermal stratification, increasing ice melt and exacerbating sea-level rise.

“We count on both Carolina Schmidt [Chile’s environment minister] and Teresa Ribera [Spain’s ecological transition minister] to make the Blue COP even bluer,” said Loreley Picourt, head of policy and international affairs at the Ocean & Climate Platform.

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Eco Business, 20 Nov 2019: COP25 to keep ocean focus despite moving to Madrid