No Climate Conference in the last decade has finished on time, and the Conference here in Madrid is showing no signs of nearing completion tonight. The Chilean President has requested delegates to work through the night. Agreement on some issues has been reached, such as on capacity building, a gender programme, and on technology, but the bigger ticket items, including loss and damage are yet to be addressed.
Andrés Landerretche, Coordinator of COP25 Presidency, said “today is the day that we show the world that we are able to tackle the greatest challenge before us.” He called the negotiations, “an exhausting exercise” and said the best efforts were being made to get a good deal.
Winding down — Many of the COP participants have started to leave. From the metro to the security lines, to getting a table in the cafeterias, the vast COP venue seemed very roomy today. Only a few side events were scheduled. But while the ranks of participants have thinned, it became more obvious that there were two groups still ready to stick it out until the end: negotiators and press.
Cutting emissions from a well-being perspective — Very often, the urgency for acting on climate is framed in an existential manner. We have to act now to save the planet for the sake of people, but often, the people are forgotten in the quest to save the planet. There have been many more people-oriented events and moments. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, called the present era “the age of anger,” and said government officials often asked her for help with people’s anger. “Do your job,” she said, ensuring that there is a labor protection floor. She said the pain of coal miners would also come to workers in oil and gas and that doing something for automotive workers would be extraordinarily difficult as it was central for many communities.
From another angle, policy people at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are looking at how you can address climate change by looking at the problem through a “well-being lens.” The idea is to focus on policies that are central to people, including nature, economics, human and social capital. “The question is, how are we going to make people’s lives better?” And it turns out, doing the things that people are concerned with can reduce emissions.
Looking ahead — Scottish bagpipes heralded a symbolic handover ceremony of the presidency of the Climate Conference, from Chile to the United Kingdom, which will host next year’s COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. The next Conference, in 2020, will be an important milestone as it is the COP where countries are supposed to present upgraded national climate plans under the Paris Agreement.
Minister Claire Perry O’Neil, who will lead the United Kingdom’s effort to organize the COP, said “we need everybody in,” adding that the next COP will be in a country committed to climate action.