Climate change has become the main threat to future of humankind, and the greatest environmental, ecological, and social challenge in the 21st century. As a planetary problem, the fight against climate change is clearly global in nature, and therefore, demands a multilateral response at the United Nations.
The successive UN Climate Change Conferences (COP) have been working since 1995 to align all countries in their fight against global warming. Noteworthy milestones include the Kyoto Protocol (1997), which established the obligation of certain countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), and the 2015 Paris Agreement, requiring all signatories to present emission reduction plans to prevent global temperatures from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius, while seeking to limit this increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius respective to pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development marked the beginning of a global agenda for sustainable development, which involves the transformation of the economic model and a new social contract of inclusive and sustainable prosperity.
Climate change is becoming tangible in our daily lives, with its negative effects on our work, health and well-being. This is why 2019 has seen multitudes of people taking to the streets, calling for urgent action against climate change. With the governance framework of the Paris Agreement, and the 15 corresponding Rulebooks approved in Katowice, we are entering a new stage in climate negotiations, in which, hopefully, we will be able to meet the demands of the scientific community and of public opinion to raise ambition on sustainability.
The 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) is being held in Madrid between December 2 and 13. It was to take place in Santiago, but it became impossible due to the strong impact of the social movements in Chile. Nevertheless, Chile still plays a central role in the conference and in coordinating international negotiations. In fact, the Chilean Presidency of COP25 will begin in December and continue until December 2020. Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s Minister of Environment, is the President-Designate for the conference.
This is the action summit. Under the slogan “Time to Act,” COP25 is going to be a major event, as the first conference to be held since the adoption of the Paris Agreement Rulebook in 2018 and it falls between September’s Climate Action Summit, convened by the UN Secretary General, and the presentation of a new round of plans for combating climate change in 2020.
Furthermore, Chile has baptised this conference the Blue COP, making the connection between climate change and oceans the focus of debate. The COP25 will also address current challenges such as renewable energies, the circular economy, ecosystems, biodiversity, and electric mobility.
We are in a crucial moment where all countries should increase ambition to avoid the adverse consequences of climate change, through international cooperation. The COP25 will have a complex agenda of negotiations. We need to join efforts to identify consensus positions for a successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The climate summit in Madrid is a neat example of how two countries can join efforts in fighting climate change. Spain and Chile are global partners in the fight against climate change and we want all countries to become worldwide allies, for climate change is a global threat that requires a universal response. We hope that by the end of COP25 we can agree on practical steps that take us a little closer to a future that is safe for the next generations. We don’t have time to waste in fight against climate change: inaction is no longer an option.
- The writers are Ambassadors of Chile and Spain to Kenya