Delegates from nearly 200 countries meet to hash out crucial negotiations on the Paris climate agreement.
U.N. Climate Meetings Begin With Message of Urgency
This year’s annual U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP25, begins today in Madrid, where 29,000 visitors are expected over the next two weeks, including 50 heads of state. Ahead of the conference, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres underlined the meeting’s urgency, saying that the climate crisis could soon reach the “point of no return.” “What is still lacking is political will,” Guterres said on Sunday. “[T]he world’s largest emitters are not pulling their weight.”
At COP25, delegates from nearly 200 countries are expected to nail down some details left open by the 2015 Paris climate accord, including how carbon-trading systems and compensation for poor countries with rising sea levels will work. The conference was originally scheduled to be held in Brazil and then Chile, but the election of President Jair Bolsonaro and the protests in Santiago changed those plans. Spain agreed to host last month.
Europe leads the way. The European Union’s new team of leaders began their terms on Sunday, emphasizing climate change policy as a key priority for the bloc. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the first woman in the position, arrives in Madrid today. It was also announced Sunday that Mark Carney, currently the governor of the Bank of England, will become the U.N. envoy on climate finance in January.
Who is the U.S. sending? Senior members from the Trump administration will be notably absent from COP25, though U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi is bringing a 15-member congressional delegation to Madrid. Last month, the United States began the yearlong process to withdraw from the Paris agreement—the only country to do so.
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