“#COP25: The COP of Disappointment”
After two weeks of talks, many issues remain unresolved. This year’s annual UN climate conference, COP25 in Madrid, became the longest on record when it concluded after lunch on Sunday, following more than two weeks of fraught negotiations. It had been scheduled to wrap up on Friday.
Countries agreed in Paris in 2015 to revisit their climate pledges by 2020. But many countries were pushing this year for a clear call for all countries to submit more ambitious climate pledges next year. This is seen as a key means of ensuring countries put a focus on improving their current pledges, as well as empowering civil society to hold them to account.
Developing countries have for years expressed their frustration that rich countries haven’t lived up to the climate action they promised up to 2020. Even though 2020 is nearly upon us, these concerns over meeting previous promises remain and again became a source of political tension at the talks.
The Paris Agreement is clear that a country that sells emissions cuts via offsetting credits to another country cannot count those emissions cuts towards its own climate targets. But even though nearly all countries agree with this, a lonely few — most notably Brazil — continue to argue this so-called “corresponding adjustment” is not needed initially.
The Paris Agreement text calls for the new carbon market to deliver an “overall mitigation in global emissions”. This essentially means it must generate additional emissions cuts, rather than just offsetting them. The current draft text on this says at least a 2% share of credits transferred on the market should be automatically cancelled to enable overall mitigation. The current draft text “strongly recommends” voluntary cancellation of these bilateral offsets in line with whatever amount is settled up on in the market mechanism. It does not set out how these voluntary contributions might work.
Countries have already agreed to use a share of money transferred via the international carbon market for adaptation projects. In the CDM, 2% of credits in the market were used to finance the Adaptation Fund. This is seen as a crucial stream of funding for adaptation projects in vulnerable countries, which tend to receive far less money than mitigation projects. The current draft text tries to meet the middle by “strongly recommend[ing]” bilateral trades give the same proportion as the carbon market settles on.
There has long been calls by vulnerable nations and civil society for new streams of finance on loss and damage — the term for climate impacts which cannot be adapted to. However, some developed countries, are extremely wary of language around loss and damage finance. “The US was particularly resistant to any discussion about new areas of work even for existing funds,” says Thwaites, noting that other developed countries are more willing to engage.
In a climate talks that could boast few triumphs to its name, two small wins were the approval of a new Gender Action Plan and a work plan for the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform. Meanwhile, a last-minute fight on the plenary floor about long term finance meant there was no outcome on this, though talks will continue next year.
The next round of climate talks is set to be held in Glasgow, Scotland. Another discussion set to begin next year is the promised new global climate finance goal to be made by 2025, and has to be higher than the $100bn per year promised from 2020–2025.
So, let’s brace for harder times ahead, we are on our own unless we sit together and come up with a drastic and radical approach to COPs in the future. The list of issues is long but the bottom line is, the heavy emitters from the west are opposed to any potential window of opportunity for African nations to access finance for Adaptation and mitigation.
The year 2020 will be extremely important for action on the climate crisis, as well as on biodiversity and on the future of global governance.
Culled from ClimateChangeNews