On December 15, after a 2-day extension, the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) closed, which turned out to be, once again, a missed opportunity to tackle the current climate problem. After a hard negotiation, a minimum agreement was reached to save the Paris Agreement, which does not respond to the demands made by civil society and the scientific community.
The document, approved in extremis with the name “Chile-Madrid, time to act”, saves COP25 from absolute failure. The text emphasizes “the urgent need to keep the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C per enzyme from pre-industrial levels” and talks about “making efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C”. However, the text still does not specify real measures and simply encourages countries to present renewed upward commitments in 2020, before the Glasgow Summit. In this Summit, only 84 countries pledged to present more drastic plans against emissions by 2020. Giants such as the US, China, Russia or India are the main blockers when it comes to advancing the commitment to cut pollution levels.
One of the main pitfalls in order to reach an agreement was the famous Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, an instrument that will serve to regulate future global carbon markets. The main issue was how to account for and manage those markets, in a way that avoids double counting or unevenness between countries. Several countries refused to approve any agreement on this article without guaranteed counterparts in the form of financing.
In a context of tepidity to face a global and urgent problem, progress was made in some areas. The agreement creates, for the first time, tools so that a part of the budget of the Green Fund can be destined to solve the material and economic damages that have their origin in extreme climatic phenomena, in the most vulnerable countries. The Adaptation Fund managed to mobilize a total of $89 million during this Summit, which is far from the target of $100,000 per year. In addition, as a novelty, a Gender Action Plan was included for countries to include the gender variable in their climate policies.
COP25 will be remembered not for its negotiations, but for the showcase that was for transnationals and, above all, for those linked to fossil fuels. From civil society we denounce that entities such as Iberdrola, Endesa, Volkswagen or Banco Santander (one of the world’s financial institutions that most finances coal) made use of the Summit to greenwash their image. The last two weeks showed the gap that exists between the factual powers and civil society after the UN expelled from the IFEMA a hundred observers, for having organized a protest, last Wednesday 11. Facing the continued presence of businesspeople, the population had little or no presence at the official Summit.
As an organized civil society, we showed our political and social response to the official agenda of the Summit. Throughout more than 350 activities and thanks to the participation of more than 300 organizations of various kinds, we denounced how COP25 will further extend the time to achieve new commitments that result in actual measures for maintaining the global temperature below 1.5ºC.