The 25th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 25) is currently underway in Madrid. The conference is hosted by the Chilean government but had to be relocated to Spain due to ongoing unrest.
COP 25 has received more attention than any of its kind before, due to increased recognition of the Climate Emergency and actions of high-profile activists such as Greta Thunberg drawing media focus. This year, the COP 25 intends to bring attention to ocean and water issues.
The items that are expected to be at the top of the agenda are various ratifications to the Paris Agreement, mainly pertaining to carbon markets, target revisions and putting frameworks in place for developing new strategies after the 2020 Paris target.
So far there has been a failure to significantly reduce the emissions gap, and according to the United Nations Environment Programme, urgent and significant action is needed to keep warming below the 2°C maximum as agreed in Paris Agreement.
The United States and China shall come under particular scrutiny due to their roles as the biggest polluters and their perceived lack of divestment from fossil fuels, but Brazil may also come into specific focus due to their inaction regarding the damage to the Amazonian rainforests.
At the other end of the spectrum, smaller island nations are already beginning to see the effects of the Climate Emergency. Rising sea levels have presented devastating and immediate consequences, including flooding of major cities necessitating mass evacuations.
It is clear that the decisions of the COP 25 shall have significant consequences that shall inform policies and actions for years to come and represents a generational turning point for engagement, accountability and attitudes towards the Climate Emergency. Furthermore, the actions of COP 25 could well define how leaders are judged by the wrath of the young and are presented in the history books of future generations.
Source: The Guardian