Greta Thunberg’s surprise visit to COP25

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.”

Youth Day

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.

Latina women take center stage at COP25

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.

Opening Day

Opening Day

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.”

COP25 in Madrid: Time for Action

COP25 in Madrid: Time for Action

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.

Deep sea marine science key to unlocking potential of our oceans

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...

100 years of multilateralism – looking back, looking ahead

100 years of multilateralism – looking back, looking ahead

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...

Crunch time at COP24

Crunch time at COP24

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.

Most vulnerable countries

Most vulnerable countries

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.

The clock is ticking

The clock is ticking

Ratcheting up the pressure – Tension is rising at COP24 as the clock ticks down on the time available to complete the Paris Agreement Work Programme—which is supposed to guide countries as they implement the agreement.  UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the meeting that “it is a moment of truth” and that “Katowice must be the dawn of a new determination to unleash the promise of the Paris Agreement.” 

Mid-week, final week

Mid-week, final week

Significant progress in the negotiating texts has been achieved, but several political issues remain, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa told ministers and other high-level officials who have come Katowice to complete the negotiations on the guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement.