25th UN Climate Change Conference starts in Madrid on 2 December
Today the 25th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) started in Madrid. Government representatives of 197 countries are meeting in the Spanish capital. This year, the rotating presidency falls to Latin America, and Chile is the current holder. Apart from specifying the last remaining details of the rulebook on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the main goal of COP 25 is to convince as many countries as possible to enhance their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in the coming year, as provided for in the Paris Agreement. Already 59 countries have announced their intention to do this. As of 10 December, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze will head the German delegation in Madrid and call on the G20 countries, including the EU, to follow suit.
Environment Minister Schulze: "International climate action is entering a decisive phase. The world is ramping up for more climate action. Under the Paris Agreement, all countries must present updated NDCs by COP 26 in Glasgow at the end of 2020. This offers an opportunity to take the next major step forward on climate action. The longer we wait, the harder and more expensive it will be. The main task for us in Madrid will be to prepare this step, forge alliances and strengthen the belief in the feasibility of climate action through cooperation, innovation and solidarity. I am advocating that Europe goes ahead with an enhanced NDC next year, motivating other large economies to follow suit. By this I mean not only laying down our long-term goal of climate neutrality by 2050, but also setting more ambitious interim targets for 2030 and 2040. Otherwise, Europe’s announcements on climate action would lack credibility."
Countries can support each other in raising their level of ambition through market mechanisms. Detailed rules on these were not finalised last year in Katowice, and they are therefore on this year’s agenda again. It has to be specified how additional CO2 reductions can be transferred from one country to another and counted towards the respective national NDC. Technical negotiations will focus on how to stipulate this while avoiding any new loopholes. Germany advocates, for example, preventing double-counting of emission reductions in both the donor and the recipient country. The European Union has ruled out using such mechanisms to achieve its current NDC (minus 40 percent greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to 1990).
In addition, COP 25 will highlight solidarity with countries in the Southern hemisphere which suffer most from climate change. Germany will stand by its pledge to double international climate finance from the federal budget to four billion euros in the period 2014 to 2020, thus contributing to the industrialised countries’ target to provide up to 100 billion US dollars for climate finance every year from 2020 onwards. The successful replenishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with 9.77 billion US dollars shows that financial support for the countries of the Southern hemisphere is of high priority. Germany has contributed 1.5 billion euros, thus doubling its initial contribution. Many industrialised countries have followed this example.
COP 25 is also a platform for the global exchange of experiences with new technologies, for example for setting up smart power grids, new storage technologies and climate-friendly fuels such as Power-to-X or new types of kerosene generated from solar radiation and wind power. Therefore several initiatives to promote climate-friendly technologies are expected to be announced during the conference.
The first week of the climate change conference in Madrid will be dedicated to expert negotiations, and from 10 December the high-level segment with environmental ministers will take place. Federal Environment Minister Schulze will travel to Madrid on 9 December to stay until the end of the conference.