Madrid Climate Conference frustrates activists yet again

Emma Monaghan on what came out of the 25th Conference of Parties (COP) on climate change in Madrid

Emma Monaghan
20th December 2019
Meeting for their 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) in Madrid this year, the UN began to air the world’s dirty laundry; the impending climate crisis.

Surprisingly, although being the longest climate conference on record, requiring 48 hours more than normal, it was deemed arguably unsuccessful by some worried activists. The leader of global climate activist group ActionAid, Harjeet Singh spoke out citing, “This COP has failed the people and the planet.”.

This alleged failure stems from the negotiations’ inability to vastly change attitudes of global super-powers such as Canada, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the US, regarding fossil fuel consumption.

These large nations host economies that graft much benefit from burning fossil fuels, and it has been suggested their efforts to reduce emissions are weak. The lack of responsibility taken for these contributions to global warming grows increasingly controversial, as smaller countries producing much less emissions suffer disproportionately more socio-economic consequences. The Bahamas are one example of this injustice, as even though they release just 0.02% of global emissions, they are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of global warming such as rising sea level and chaotic weather.

One issue left unresolved from COP25 was the question of how and who will finance the losses due to climate disaster, leaving a coalition group of 44 small islands AOSIS (Alliance Of Small Island States) to vent on their official twitter page, “appalled and dismayed” at the “scale of inaction, ineffective processes & …. Regressive anti-science positions.”.

COP25 ultimately concluded that although through the 2015 Paris agreement countries agreed to limit their emissions, more needs to be done to address this crisis situation. The US has also since disengaged from the Paris agreement, fuelling the anger of climate activists.

The COP26 conference is to be held in Glasgow next year, with crushing pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to meet Britain’s emissions targets by 2020. Johnson has been warned that his £28.8 billion road plans conflict with CO2 reduction goals, and needs to tread carefully with Brexit planning - the EU are putting a border tax in countries with ineffective emission cuts.  

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