Global climate talks in Madrid “a key springboard” for COP26 in Glasgow

  • 02 Dec 2019
  • International

Faster action needed to slash emissions and provide emergency support for those hit by the climate emergency

With a year until crucial global climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest climate coalition has urged Governments to live up to the leadership shown by campaigners – including young people – in Scotland and around the world by ramping up ambition when they meet for this year’s talks in Madrid.

The 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known as COP25, was relocated from Chile to Madrid at short notice after civil unrest in Santiago over severe inequality in the country. The two weeks of talks in Madrid, under a Chilean Presidency, start tomorrow (Mon 2 Dec).

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland says the talks must provide a key springboard to decisive action that puts climate justice at the centre of the global response to the climate emergency when governments of the world meet in Glasgow in late 2020 for COP26. The COP in Glasgow is the deadline for countries to publish revised plans – Nationally Determined Contributions – to cut their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement during the period 2026 to 2031.

Kat Jones, Coalition Manager from SCCS, who is attending the talks, said: “This year, young people in Scotland and around the world have been inspirational in pushing demands for climate justice towards the top of the political agenda.

“As the world’s leaders gather in Madrid at COP25, we call on them to match this example by waking up to the climate crisis and taking decisive action that puts climate justice at the centre of the global response. These talks must be a key springboard towards the COP in Glasgow next year.”

Climate finance is a major part of the agenda in Madrid. The human price of the climate emergency is already being paid by those who did least to cause it with rich polluting countries failing to give poor communities the help they need to adapt to the climate crisis or recover from the damage it inflicts.

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The climate crisis is wreaking havoc across the globe and the poorest communities – who have done little to fuel the crisis – are paying the heaviest price. Women and children are amongst the hardest hit.

“Governments must make Madrid matter by setting up a financial mechanism to help poorer countries rebuild towns, restore land and re-home communities after climate disasters. They must also deliver the $100 billion a year they promised to poorer countries by 2020 to help them cut their emissions and adapt to this crisis.”

The relocation from Chile to Spain has created additional barriers to civil society participation at COP25, particularly for people from the global south. However, The People’s Summit scheduled in Santiago is going ahead (Dec 2 to 13). A Social Summit for Climate Action is also being held in Madrid (Dec 6 – 13), with SCCS hosting an event on the Path to COP26 to consult on civil society engagement in Glasgow. The coalition will also join a major public march in Madrid on December 6.

Mary Church, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “The relocation of COP25 from Santiago to Madrid at such short notice is highly problematic, both in creating additional barriers for global south participation in these critical talks and in taking the spotlight away from the civil unrest in Chile that led to the move.

“The causes of the entrenched inequality that has triggered the protests in Chile are intertwined with the causes of the climate crisis. The climate crisis is a political crisis that requires systemic and transformative action to avoid catastrophic warming. We condemn the Chilean Government’s brutal repression of the uprising and stand in solidarity with the Chilean people.

“With COP26 taking place in Glasgow in 2020, it means that four COPs in a row will take place in the global north, resulting in a representation of fewer voices of those most impacted by the climate crisis. We call on the Scottish and UK Governments to do everything they can to ensure strong representation from global south civil society at COP26 ”

The world is on track for a catastrophic 3°C rise in global temperatures, resulting in what the UN calls “wide ranging and destructive climate impacts” for people and nature. COP25 will see pressure on big polluters, including the EU and the US, to do their fair share and increase their climate targets.

Alistair Dutton, Director of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, said: “Last year’s IPCC special report on 1.5C demonstrated the devastating impact that warming above those levels will have on the poorest people in the world.

“Last week, the World Meteorological Organisation and the UN Environment Programme published two separate bleak assessments which showed that we are on a path to warming levels of twice that amount. The science is clear. We now need our leaders to make tough political choices to respond to that science and to transform our economies to protect the world’s poorest from a climate catastrophe.”

COP25 will also discuss the rules for emissions trading under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement as part of negotiations on the final part of the Paris Rule Book. Carbon markets are highly contentious due to the impact of offsetting schemes on indigenous people. A review of the Gender Action Plan will also take place with calls to ensure Nationally Determined Contributions take full account of the impact of policies on women and to boost female participation within decision-making processes.