Latina women take center stage — Although it is being held in Madrid, Spain, this is the Latin America and Caribbean COP. Every year, the Conference moves to a different region in the world. Last year was Eastern Europe’s turn. In 2017, it was Asia-Pacific’s turn, but Fiji, the designated host, was slammed by a hurricane that year, so the Conference was held in Bonn, with Fiji still serving as president. However, in an interesting turn of events, the President of this year’s COP is Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s Environment Minister. Today, she was accompanied at a press conference, by Lorena Aguilar, Costa Rica’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was a departure for the climate COP word, which has a history of being male dominated.
Ms. Schmidt said climate change was making the lives of millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean difficult, whether from droughts or fires. “Time for action,” is not a slogan, she said, adding that it is a moral, social, and economic demand to change paths. “We need to include all the voices.”
A Blue COP — The state of the ocean has rarely received much attention at climate conferences, but that is changing. “This is the first time we’re bring the ocean into the COP,” said COP President Carolina Schmidt. For the protection and management of the ocean, the goal is to ensure that countries include the ocean in their national climate plans, known as NDCs, which are due next year. About 90 percent of the excess heat in the world is stored in the oceans, which is a factor in rising sea levels, and is changing the chemistry of the ocean, which is undergoing acidification.
A new engine to spur action — Former UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres is still on a mission to fight climate change. She has joined with TED to start “a massive global collaboration to tackle the climate crisis”, which kicked off today. Actually, the new mobilization started in New York with a live-streamed event that was shown at the COP in Madrid and included a video from the UN Secretary-General, and live interviews with the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and scientists, activists, and educators around the world. The aim is to build momentum through talk that reach ever expanding audiences and lead to an action conference on 10 October 2020 (10/10/20) in Bergen, Norway, where major movers and shakers will join.