People from the Renew Our World campaign in Brazil, the Netherlands, Peru, and the UK will be at COP 25 in Madrid, along with the Anglican Alliance, WEA, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and others. Do get in touch if you’re also at COP, or watching COP.
Here’s why it matters:
Humanity has been procrastinating, and it’s not too late to limit the world’s warming to 1.5 degrees, but there’s a lot of work left to do. The UN’s climate talks near the end of each year are the place where the international agreements get made and the details worked out, or not. COP25 was going to be in Santiago in Chile, and moved to Madrid in Spain at one month’s notice because of the unrest in Chile.
The main things to achieve in Madrid are:
1) Boosting national enthusiasm for cutting emissions faster. At the moment if each nation does everything they’ve promised in their plans, we’ll have 3.2 degrees of warming, which will be catastrophic. The world’s emissions are still rising; they need to halve by 2030, halve again by 2040, and again to reach net zero by 2050. Back in 2015 we had the landmark Paris Agreement, which agreed to limit warming to as close to 1.5 degrees as possible and agreed that each country would come up with a plan for their share of that, known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (or NDC) in UN jargon. Countries are due to present draft plans by February, so doing that in Madrid would be ideal, before finally agreeing them next year in Glasgow, which is a crucial year. There’s a tracker for who’s pledged to reach net zero by when, so far.
Public opinion and climate campaigning internationally have reached much higher levels than ever before, and here in the UK we’re in the middle of the first general election where climate is one of the top issues. We need all of that pressure and more, and as much progress at Madrid as we can get.
2) Agreeing the rules for emissions trading, so they don’t have loopholes and aren’t easy to fiddle. This is unfinished business from previous COPs, and there’s a risk of countries being allowed to count emissions cuts that aren’t new and have already happened, or count them twice, so although they’re arcane and tedious they’re also very important.
3) Naturally, it’s never not about money, and another main Paris Agreement promise was that richer countries would transfer climate finance to help poorer countries adapt to climate change and find clean ways to develop, reaching $100 billion a year by 2020 (a lot of money of course, but a lot less than needed). The more of that money actually arrives, the greater the amount of trust there will be as nations negotiate.
CAN, the Climate Action Network, have a full policy summary of what’s needed.
So we’ll be praying and calling for this COP to be effective. We’ll also be planning for the landmark (we hope) COP 26 beside the River Clyde in Glasgow next year.