Cop25: What was achieved and where to next?

(Climate Change News, 16 Dec 2019) After two weeks of talks, many issues remain unresolved. Here we break down the major fights and minor breakthroughs of the UN conference in Madrid.


The annual UN climate talks closed in disappointment on Sunday in Madrid, after two weeks spent trying to hash out a deal.

Countries failed to agree on many of the hoped for outcomes, including rules to set up a global carbon trading system and a system to channel new finance to countries facing the impacts of climate change.


Countries agreed in Paris in 2015 to revisit their climate pledges by 2020. But many countries were pushing this year for a clear call for all countries to submit more ambitious climate pledges next year. This is seen as a key means of ensuring countries put a focus on improving their current pledges, as well as empowering civil society to hold them to account.

But countries such as China and Brazil opposed placing any obligation on countries to submit enhanced pledges next year, arguing it should be each country’s own decision. They instead argued the focus should be on pre-2020 action by developing countries to meet their previous pledges (see below).

As talks reached their final days, tensions grew after a draft decision removed any call for countries to “update” or “enhance” their climate plans by 2020. Instead, it only invited them to “communicate” them in 2020 – far weaker language which put no obligation on enhanced ambition.

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Climate Change News, 16 Dec 2019: Cop25: What was achieved and where to next?