Will COP25 Build The Momentum For Increased Climate Action?

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What Is COP25?

COP25 is the 25th conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). UNFCCC, an international environment treaty, was adopted on May 09, 1992, at the Earth Summit at Rio, Brazil. The first such conference, i.e., COP1, was hosted at Berlin, Germany in 1995.

About 197 countries, party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will participate in COP25 in Madrid, from December 2-13.

‘Parties’ is the term used to refer to the signatories (countries) of the UNFCCC. For almost three decades, the signatories have met every year to forge a global response to the climate emergency. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, every nation on earth is treaty-bound to “avoid dangerous climate change”, and find pathways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

This year Costa Rica wanted to host the event, but due to the lack of resources, Chile pitched in, and everything was set for the COP in Santiago. But rioting in the city and national political crisis forced the COP to be moved. The Spanish government then stepped up, and Madrid was finalized as the venue for the COP25.

Who Will Attend And What’s Special About COP25?

The negotiations, led by the environment ministers, UN officials and civil servants will go until 13th December. Almost every country will send their representative of a senior rank. More significant economies are expected to have a large delegation. Top world leaders may not show up for the event, but many of the celebrities and VIPs will mark their presence. Representatives from NGOs, Policy, and advocacy and research groups, climate activists and environmentalists will also be an integral part of the event. Journalist and media groups will extensively follow the event.

There is widespread understanding as well as profound demand that we need to do more to reduce emissions and build resilience.

The most important thing about the COPs is that they are the only forum on the climate crisis where the opinions and concerns of the low-income countries carry equal weight to that of the big economies, such as the U.S., China and India. Each of the 197 nations on earth, except a few failed states, is a signatory to the UNFCCC foundation treaty and no country has yet opted to withdraw from it. That includes the U.S., which is in the process of withdrawing from the Paris accord.

This COP will be seen as a stepping stone to the official start date for the Paris Agreement. It is a vital step to help countries implement the Paris Agreement when it begins next year. The COP will also set the momentum for increased climate action. There is widespread understanding as well as profound demand that we need to do more to reduce emissions and build resilience. Still, nations have yet to formalize this understanding into their new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The deadline for countries to submit new and more ambitious NDCs is next year.

Revisiting Paris Agreement

In December 2015, 192 countries committed to a climate change agreement that is dynamic, durable and applicable to all countries. Since then, 181 countries have ratified the agreement. The United States, however in 2017 expressed its intention to withdraw from the agreement after a three-year notice period.

The very soul of the Paris Agreement is the commitment by countries to submit Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), setting out their national targets for reducing greenhouse gases, and in some cases, plans for adapting to the impacts of climate change and providing finance and other support to developing countries. These pledges are the foundation of the agreement. They are to be resubmitted to the United Nations every five years, and each must be more ambitious than the last. Though the deal is legally binding, the commitments that countries have made to cut their emissions are not.

India’s Negotiating Stand

India has emphasized that developed countries should take the lead in undertaking ambitious actions and fulfil their climate finance commitments of mobilizing $100 billion per annum by 2020. It will also stress upon the need for the develope countries to meet their pre-2020 commitments and ensure that pre-2020 implementation gaps do not present an additional burden on the developing countries in the post-2020 period.

India’s negotiating stand is in line with its statements at the 24th COP in Katowice, Poland, last year, where India called for clarity on climate finance and said that, until 2017, only 12% of the total pledges to multilateral climate funds have actually led to disbursements.

India’s approach will be guided mainly by the principles of Equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capability (CBDR-RC). Overall, India looks forward to engaging in negotiations with a constructive and positive outlook and work towards protecting its long-term development interests.

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