Climate youth leader Greta Thunberg made a surprise visit to the United Nations Climate Conference, just prior to attending a massive climate strike in downtown Madrid today. Ms. Thunberg told the demonstration that “We have been striking for over a year and still basically nothing has happened. The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power. We cannot go on like this.”
This year’s Youth Day at COP25 took on a greater prominence as youth have driven a global mobilization demanding greater climate action. The greater involvement of youth was recognized in September at the Youth Climate Summit in New York on 21 September. Jayathama Wickramanayke, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, said work was moving along to further the outcomes of the Summit, including the Kwon-Gesh Pledge, which calls on youth to hold their governments and leaders accountable.
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 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was a departure for the climate COP word, which has a history of being male dominated.
After a high-powered opening with heads of state and government, the UN Climate Conference settled down to work today, with government negotiators meeting in two large committees on a number of issues, including the contentious issue of market mechanisms for trading emission credits. They will work through the week and send their recommendations to the ministers who will be attending next week.
The Science — The latest scientific findings hung heavily over the opening of the UN Climate Conference in Madrid today. Dr. Hoesung Lee, who heads the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), framed the situation squarely when he told the huge, and full, plenary room that emissions were continuing to rise. “We are clearly in a crisis.” The impacts of climate change were accelerating, and the world was risking reaching the limits of adaption. If we stay on the same path, he said, there will be “enormous negative consequences,” including to health, safety and security. “We are clearly not doing enough.”
A Conference in an instant — This is the UN Climate Conference that was originally supposed to take place in Brazil. After Brazil backed out, Chile stepped up to host the Conference. But massive civil unrest in Chile forced the Government to cancel its plans just a month ahead of the Conference. In the nick of time, Spain volunteered to host, and now, on the eve of the COP, everything is pretty much in place and work crew are putting in the finishing touches.
There has never been a time of greater promise or greater challenge for the future of our oceans. This was the topic on everyone’s minds as the international community gathered in Copenhagen this week for the first Global Planning Meeting for the UN Decade of Ocean...
Guest post submitted by: Michael Møller, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva. 100 years ago this year, the League of Nations was created in Geneva. The end of the First World War marked a watershed in many ways, and one of them was the bankruptcy of the...
It’s crunch time in Katowice, on what it supposed to be the last day of COP24, but the talks are heading for an all-nighter. It is not unusual for climate conferences to run late—in fact, they all do. But it is always a question of how late.
Some of the world’s countries that are most vulnerable to climate change took center stage at COP24. Led by the Marshall Islands, the Climate Vulnerable Forum countries issued a plea for accelerated action. “We are out of time,” said Marshall Island President Hilda Heine in a video. Rising sea levels, she said, threatened the country with extinction, yet that has not stopped the country from submitting a new nationally climate commitment.