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.
It was four years ago today that the Paris Agreement was adopted at COP21. The historic agreement, which charted a new and optimistic future for tackling climate change, was signed by most countries on 22 April 2016, and in record-breaking fashion, entered into effect on 4 November 2016. Today, it has 195 signatories and 187 parties.
The start of the high level part of the Conference started today with the arrival of about 150 ministers, who heard new calls for urgent action to confront the climate emergency. The famous Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz opened the discussions with a call for everyone to take action at the individual level. He said “We are all guilty and we are all part of the solution.”
Capturing carbon dioxide — Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have reached record levels, smashing the 400 parts per million milestone and continuing to rise. While there are other greenhouse gases as well, it is carbon dioxide that plays the largest role in global warming, and it is the gas that lingers the longest in the atmosphere. There are two fundamental strategies for limiting the gas – to reduce emissions or to remove carbon dioxide from the air. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we need to do both.