COP 25 in Madrid: a Missed Opportunity
After 2 additional days of intense discussions, the 25th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or in short COP25, came to an end in Madrid on Sunday December 15th. UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres concluded that “the international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis.” Comparing the outcomes of the conference to our expectations listed in a previous article last week, we can only agree with him:
A final declaration stressing the need for action…but no commitments from major emitters
Even if major talks and decisions were planned for COP26 in Glasgow next year, this COP was seen as the opportunity to raise the level of ambition in emission cuts, as an answer to the growing pressure of scientific reports and of civil society. 84 countries agreed to increase their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2020, but they only represent 10,5% of World total emissions, and major emitters such as China, India, Brazil, Australia, Japan and the US (who should leave Paris climate agreement in November 2020) showed no intention to increase their efforts.
Tough discussions on carbon markets, common timeframe and loss and damage, with no real progress
Some key discussions taking place in Madrid focused around ensuring that the goals set out in the Paris agreement will reach their expected impact. Unfortunately, no or very little progress was achieved, especially on the following topics, all pushed to 2020 discussion agenda:
- Carbon markets: no agreement was found on the implementation of Article 6 from the Paris agreement, aiming at organising efficient carbon markets driving emission cuts. Some countries, like Brazil, insisted to allow for double-counting (I.e. emission cuts being allocated to both the source and the receiver of the cut), and others like Australia wanted to keep the carbon credit inherited from the pre-COP21 scheme.
- Common timeframe for the implementation period of the NDCs: discussions were also very tough on whether NDCs should engage the parties for 5 years, 10 years or for a combination of both according to the type of country. Here again, no agreement was found and this needs to be further discussed in 2020.
- Loss and Damage, to supporting the most vulnerable parties facing adverse effects of climate change: here the main roadblock was the lack of response from developed countries to the request from developing ones to see more money put on the table. The question of liability was also a sticking point, with the US insisting for Paris agreement signatories (which they will no longer part of next year) to be the only ones liable to loss and damage.
The year to come and the preparation of COP26 will therefore be key in finally creating the conditions for a successful implementation of Paris agreement, and we can only hope that the positive signals received last week from the European Commission, with the European Green Deal, will push others to act.
How does amfori contribute to climate action?
amfori BEPI supports members and producers to measure and improve their carbon footprint. Through a built in carbon calculator in the amfori BEPI platform, and information gathering around GHG emissions and pollution control, we are making it easier than ever for members to engage their supply chain on carbon reduction and mitigation. Learn on carbon mitigation more here.
For information on how amfori supports its members in their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular to SDG#13 Climate action, read about our approach to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate action is also one of amfori’s advocacy key priorities, joining the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action as a supporting organisation.
Learn more about amfori's also attendance at the Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF), which ran alongside the COP 25 Conference in Madrid.