How COP25 talks failed on global climate ‘ambition’

(EurActiv, 16 Dec 2019) The final text released after a marathon talks harked back to a deal made in Paris that placed no requirement on most countries to raise their targets until 2025. EURACTIV’s media partner, Climate Home News, reports.

It was COP25’s final call to arms on climate action.

globally-agreed commitment, delivered after the longest climate conference in history, looked ahead to 2020 and raised “serious concern” about “the significant gap” between what countries have pledged and what scientists say will stop the planet warming.

The Chilean presidency of the Madrid talks had made “ambition” a central aim for the meeting. But the text they drafted lacked a clear call for countries to raise their game on a specific time frame. Instead, it harked back to an obscure part of the deal cut in Paris in 2015: ‘1/CP.21’, specifically paragraphs 23 and 24 (below).

These two paragraphs, which were drafted alongside the Paris Agreement in the cauldron of the 2015 talks, are the only piece of international law governing the 2020 push for greater action. But they place no legal requirement on most countries to step up in 2020, according to climate jurists.

Kenyan climate campaigner Mohamad Adow called the Madrid outcome “disastrous, profoundly distressing”.

“We cannot just copy and paste the text from four years ago. We need to recognise that since then the climate emergency has got worse and public anger has got fiercer,” he said.

Without clear action in 2020, the first concrete moment for nations to step up their national climate commitments (known as nationally determined contributions, or NDCs) under the Paris Agreement is not until 2025. That is more than half the time left before the carbon budget for 1.5C is blown at current emissions – see Glen Peters’ graphic below.

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EurActiv, 16 Dec 2019: How COP25 talks failed on global climate ‘ambition’