COP25? How world leaders failed future generations

COP25? How world leaders failed future generations

What is COP25? 

Climate crisis and global warming are problems that hits the news almost every day. Even though it sounds ridiculous, world governments were aware of it since 1992. In that year, they gathered for the first time to talk about climate problems. They realized that it was necessary to find a solution on the consequences of the human emissions on this planet. In that year, 197 parties from different countries, signed an environment treaty called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) [1].


Since this first gathering in 1995, all the 197 countries are called to a meeting every year, which is called the Conference of the Parties (or COP) [2]. They aim to discuss ways to avoid the dangerous effect of climate change. And yes, you got it, every year since 1995 they talked about it, but the situation only got worse…


This year the meeting was supposed to happen in Chile. But a brutal riot couldn’t guarantee a safe gathering, so the COP was moved to Madrid. It took place from the 2nd to the 13th of December, 2019.

What was the main goal of the COP for this year?

The conference had a main, seemingly easy, aim: clarify Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. This article describes the global carbon market, in which rich countries could buy emissions from poor countries. This was supposed to reduce world emissions and promote sustainable development, that would help to reduce worldwide emissions of CO2 [3].


Using the carbon market strategy, although is not a final solution, would definitely be a first step on the long way to solve the incredible problem of CO2 emissions. If you want to know more about this, read our previous article on fossil fuels.


Furthermore, this conference was important to show a common commitment to act in the imminent future. Countries who wish to comply with the Paris agreement should show their willingness to change. In this agreement, all signed countries agree to limit the temperature rise under 2C°, preferably arrive under 1,5C°. But right now, with the current situation, the world is on the way to a 3C° increase. This will destroy coastal cities due to sea level rise and limit agricultural harvest due to weather extremes [4].

What happened at the conference then?

The conference had a good start. The World Meteorological Organization provided an update on the annual report on the State of the Climate [5], available here[6] who those who like scientific read. They showed an “exceptional global heat and high impact weather” [7], showing that we are way too far meeting the goals of the Paris agreement.


After that, the countries discussed the global carbon budget. Also a report was presented on which countries suffer the most from climate change [5]. Another report on the use of oil and gas also showed that current developments will make it impossible to meet the Paris Agreement [9].


On the fifth day of the COP, the Friday for Future movement marched through Madrid with 500.000 people. They made a statement to ask for more ambitious action [5]. They were joined by Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist who said that she and the million that marched over the last 2 years “achieved nothing”, as the green gas emission did not reduce but increase [8].


In the second week, instead of moving forward to practical solutions, the talks were focused on bickering over technical details. Different countries as the US, China and Australia, were even accused of delaying the progress [4].


Different activists shows their disappointment during the conference. Some of the biggest gas emitting countries showed incentive to take a step back instead of forward. The US already announced to quit the Paris agreement [10].


Conclusion of COP25

Helen Mountford, vice president for climate and economics at the World Resources Institute, had a good way of summarizing the course of the COP: “These talks reflect how disconnected country leaders are from the urgency of the science and the demands of their citizens in the street” [4].


It brings hope that different countries, including the EU representatives, presented a practical plan to cooperate in reaching net-zero carbon by 2050 [4]. However, this COP was characterized by the step back behaviour of the biggest emitters. At the end of the COP, no conclusion agreement was signed, not even on the minimum goal to clarify Article 6 of the Paris agreement.

So now what?

This technical talk will continue on the next COP, in November 2020 in Glasgow. This will only increase the pressure on the already crucial COP26 [3]. The hopes are that the social pressure on politicians continues to increase. Maybe the countries that took a step back at COP25, are willing to negotiate again on reaching the Paris agreement.


I want to conclude this article with a short video of different activists that were present at the COP25. Their anger against the lack of progress shows the urge to change the situation:


-Choose politicians that support sustainable development;

-If you are interested in a topic, check if there are organization about it around you.


New year, new look, from now on you can find all our sources also on the bottom of the article 🙂













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[Image:Gabriel Bouys AFP via Getty Images]

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