After a two day extension, the UN climate change conference (COP25) ended today in Madrid. The decisions included a call for the enhancement of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) next year. The European Union already decided at this week’s European Council meeting to become climate neutral by 2050 and to revise its 2030 climate target. This received much recognition, particularly from small island developing states which are most vulnerable to climate change. All contracting parties must update their NDCs for the coming decade and submit a 2050 long-term strategy by the next UN climate change conference in Glasgow at the end of 2020.
Federal Environment Minister Schulze said: "These were hard-fought negotiations in Madrid. Regrettably, the outcomes don’t equal the progress we urgently need. However, I am glad that we were able to ward off all attempts to water down the Paris Agreement. Madrid demonstrated once again: It requires a lot of strength to keep the countries of the world together, but if we want to combat global heating successfully, solidarity and the will for joint action are indispensable. The countries which are blocking progress must not be allowed to call the tune. In the end, all countries stood by the Paris Agreement in Madrid. However, we have to accelerate our fight against climate change. Now is the time to look to the future. Europe will lead by example in 2020. It is the first major economy which will significantly enhance its NDC next year. This received much recognition in Madrid, particularly from small island developing states. With this commitment we expect other major economies to follow suit next year."
The EU Commission will present a plan by summer 2020 to enhance the EU’s current NDC of a 40 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions compared to 1990, to a 50 to 55 per cent reduction. In the framework of its EU Presidency, Germany will be instrumental in achieving this goal in the second half of 2020. This will include persuading other major economies to move forward together. The joint EU-China summits will play a key role.
The COP25 climate negotiations in Madrid also aimed at laying down the rules according to which CO2 savings from international climate action projects will be counted (market mechanisms). The EU and many other ambitious countries worked intensively to prevent these mechanisms from watering down the existing climate targets under the Paris Agreement. At the conclusion of the meeting, progress was made which make a decision next year seem likely.
COP25 focussed less on concrete negotiations on rules than previous climate change conferences. However, many bilateral and multilateral talks concentrated on how countries can improve their respective climate policies.
Minister Schulze remarked: "The UN climate change conferences need to change; yet, they remain essential. Negotiating specific provisions will become less important, as the necessary rules for implementing the Paris Agreement are largely in place. Talking about new environmentally-friendly and green industrial technologies and political approaches that could bring about more climate action will increasingly be the focus of the conference. This corresponds to the spirit of the Paris Agreement. We are learning from one another and showing solidarity with the poorest countries, helping them in the fight against climate change. In many bilateral talks, I have heard how individual countries are working on new mitigation measures and I have campaigned for more joint action."