Climate Ambition Alliance To Be Center Stage at December’s COP25

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The climate champion for Chile, Gonzalo Muñoz, published a letter which calls on all actors – cities, regions, businesses, and investors – to join Chile’s Climate Ambition Alliance at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid in December.

This multi-stakeholder alliance on both mitigation and adaptation brings together constituents who are upscaling climate action by 2020. The Climate Ambition Alliance currently includes 65 countries and the EU, 10 regions, 102 cities, 93 businesses, and 12 investors – all committed to the longer term goal of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

Photo via UNFCCC, Flicker Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Climate Ambition Alliance pushes for a sustainable future at the time that the leadership group of Chile is facing systemic national problems. Chile announced in late October that it would withdraw as the host country for the event after the country declared a state of emergency after it was hit by the worst wave of social unrest since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1990. Protesters denounced social inequality and the privatization of social services, and Chilean police and armed forces responded with aggressive force.

Climate Home News reported that 18 people were killed in the violence.

While bowing out from physically hosting COP25, the Chilean government agreed to continue to preside over negotiations until it passes on the leadership role to the UK ahead of next year’s meeting.

Thus, the conference will take place under the Presidency of the Government of Chile and will be held with logistical support from the Government of Spain. The President-designate for the conference is Ms. Carolina Schmidt, Minister of Environment of Chile.

The decision to change venues ultimately lay with the UN COP bureau, a 12-member panel of climate diplomats drawn from across the world and chaired by Polish COP24 president Michal Kurtyka. The Spanish government offered to hold the event, and Teresa Ribera, Spain’s ecological transition minister, described hosting the UN climate talks in Madrid as “a pleasure.” “a privilege,” and “honor.” She said that “progressive & constructive multilateralism is the best answer to global challenges.”

“Chile maintains its commitment for climate action and sustainable development and will keep coordinating the Climate Ambition Alliance and working for carbon neutrality by 2050,” the COP25 designated president Carolina Schmidt said.

Schmidt invited stakeholders with divergent interests to join the Alliance. The President-designate sent a letter saying that climate change is backed by documented scientific evidence, and our societies will suffer further damage “unless we take decisive action to prevent it.” She added that “the best plan to address this challenge is the full and prompt implementation of the Paris Agreement. This should be our first priority as we move ahead.”

Photo via UNFCCC, Flicker Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What is the UN Climate Change Conference?

The United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) is the international response to climate change. It is a treaty that establishes the basic obligations of the 196 Parties (States) plus the European Union to combat climate change. It was signed at the Earth Summit in 1992 and came into force in 1994.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention. The Parties meet annually to review progress in the implementation of the Convention where other instruments that support the implementation of the Convention are proposed, evaluated, and approved.

The first COP was held in Berlin in 1995. To date, 24 COPs have been held, the last one in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018.

The UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 will take place 2-9 December 2019.

The conference is designed to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process. Following agreement on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement at COP 24 in Poland last year, a key objective is to complete several matters with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

To ensure that countries take on greater climate action over time, the agreement requires each country to prepare and communicate Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) every 5 years. These cycles begin in 2020, 5 years after countries submitted their first NDCs in 2015. The current set of NDCs falls short of aligning with the temperature thresholds in the Paris Agreement. Countries now need to deliver a measurable step up in ambition to start closing the gap between current emissions and where they need to be.

The conference furthermore serves to build ambition ahead of 2020, the year in which countries have committed to submit new and updated national climate action plans. Crucial climate action work will be taken forward in areas including finance, the transparency of climate action, forests and agriculture, technology, capacity building, loss and damage, indigenous peoples, cities, oceans, and gender.

Photo via UNFCCC, Flicker Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What is the Climate Ambition Alliance?

At the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in New York in September, Chile announced the “Climate Ambition Alliance,” capturing the outcomes and achievements of the “Mitigation Strategy” coalition.

All members of the Alliance are required to commit towards achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its special report on global warming of 1.5 degrees, states that in model pathways of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions reach net zero around 2050. This target covers CO2 emissions and implies that sinks (for example, forests) and other means are used to compensate residual emissions.

The following formulations qualify for the alliance as long as they denote net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 or a more stringent objective in terms of coverage of greenhouse gases or time frame:

  • net zero carbon emissions
  • net zero CO2 emissions
  • carbon neutrality
  • decarbonization
  • climate neutrality
  • net zero GHG emissions
Photo via UNFCCC, Flicker Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

New Members of the Alliance to Be Announced at COP25

The letter by the High-Level Climate Champion for Chile complements messages published last week by President-designate of COP25, Minister Carolina Schmidt, which similarly invited both Parties and non-Party stakeholders to join the Alliance.

New members will be announced on Wednesday, 11 December at COP25, as part of a special day of action that the Government of Chile is convening.

The intention is to significantly grow the Alliance at Chile’s COP25 in Madrid in order to set the stage for the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 next year in Glasgow, by when governments must submit enhanced national climate plans.

New members of the Climate Ambition Alliance will be announced on Wednesday, 11 December at COP25, as part of a special day of action that the Government of Chile is convening.

It is #TimeForAction.

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.

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