UN climate change summit begins in Madrid

02/12/2019 - 17:12 Published in News/General

A two-week United Nations climate summit began in Madrid on Monday to convene world leaders and activists for talks on tackling climate change.

The climate conference COP25 is tasked with ensuring that the UN Convention on Climate Change and Paris Agreement are being properly implemented.

“The last five years have been the hottest ever recorded. Sea levels are at the highest in human history,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday as he introduced the event in Madrid which is hosting the international meeting after it was removed from Chile due to unrest.

“The point of no return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and is hurtling towards us.”

In his speech, Guterres outlined the “increased ambition and commitment” that the world will need to see from governments in the coming days in Madrid, calling efforts so far “utterly inadequate.”

COP25 is the final Conference of Parties before 2020, when many nations must submit new climate action plans.

Financing the climate action will be a major priority of the discussions over the next two weeks.

According to the UN, the efforts are not enough to meet three climate goals of the global community: reducing emissions 45% by 2030, achieving a net zero carbon footprint, and stabilizing global temperature rise at 1.5°C by the end of the century.

Last week, the European Parliament declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” and the World Meteorological Organization released a report saying the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher now than it has been in the last three to five million years.

“We are in a deep hole and we are still digging. Soon it will be too deep to escape,” said Guterres.