Progress of the Paris Agreement. It is the most important multilateral agreement in history in which 198 countries committed themselves in 2015 to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming between 1.5ºC and 2ºC by 2100, with respect to the pre-industrial period (18th century). Now four years later, at COP25, countries have to make firm commitments from 2020 onwards to reducing their CO2 emissions in the carbon markets, through mitigation and adaptation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
"The problem is that we are not faced with a race that will drag out for years: we are up against the clock. The future of the entire planet is at stake, for this generation and for those to come, otherwise it will be completely unsustainable. We will have generated such a great inequality that there will be no solution to this problem", shares José Cristóbal Ferreras, member of FridaysFor Future.
Greater ambition. "The time we have to confront climate change is limited, which is why countries should commit to implementing the Paris Agreement in 2020 and be much more ambitious," says Sara Pizzinato, member of the Board of Trustees of the Renewables Foundation. As the COP25 slogan "#TimeForAction" says, a global commitment is needed to reduce emissions by 7.6% per year over the next decade to achieve the goal of not increasing temperature by 1.5ºC. In addition, during the Climate Summit, progress must be made to involve the principle carbon markets in the Paris Agreement, and the contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which are estimated at more than 100,000 million euros, for damage mechanisms and compensations for extreme weather events, or support for developing countries in their transition to a new sustainable energy model.
EU leadership. The EU committed at the last COP24 in Katowice to be carbon neutral by 2050, but it arrives without consensus because Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Estonia opposed meeting the date at the last European Council in Brussels. Given the departure of the United States from the Paris Agreement and the symbolism that it will carry as the second country that consumes the most CO2 (14.6%, according to Visual Capitalist) and that China is the largest CO2 emitter (27.2%), the EU has an historic opportunity to lead the fight against climate change, first out of conviction and second to mark out the path towards a real energy transition that compensates for its historic industrial development.
“"In Europe, as soon as COP25 ends, a European Council meeting will be held on the 12th and 13th December, which is going to be key, because this will be where it will be decided, over and above the departure of the United States from the Paris Agreement, whether Europe will once again take the lead by assuming a greater binding commitment to reduce 65% of CO2 emissions by 2030 and total decarbonisation by 2040. We only have a 10-year margin (until the 2030 Agenda). That's why we must be more ambitious within Europe and set targets for 2040, not 2050 as the rest of the Planet", considers Sara Pizzinato.
José Cristóbal Ferreras goes further: "We demand that the EU make reductions of 85% by 2030. It may seem impossible, but if we frame ourselves on climate justice then our responsibility is to do more for the planet from these latitudes than the rest of the countries are doing. In addition, we understand that by 2035 we should reach a net zero in emissions".
Spain's role. Role in hosting the first Climate Summit is a milestone for our country and an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to climate change. The National Integrated Climate and Energy Plan, which will be submitted by 31st December 2019, and the Energy Transition Act serve to examine us. For this reason, Sara Pizzinato hopes that in the European Council this commitment can be reflected in the Energy Transition Law and in the Integrated National Climate and Energy Plan which is binding at European level: "Our current commitment as a country is to reduce CO2 emissions by 20%, but from the Fundación Renovables we understand that it should be 55% by 2030, above 2005 levels, not above 1990 levels, because at that date our emissions were very low. This commitment would be key and we would send a positive message to the rest of the world".
For his part, Tom Kucharz, activist of Ecologistas en Acción and social researcher, is not so hopeful: "The reality is that we continue without an Energy Transition Law, which shows that there is not, nor has been, any parliamentary will to discuss it. All the while, the National Integrated Climate and Energy Plan seem insufficient for our country".
Blue Zone and Green Zone. During the gathering, the differentiation of the official zones of the COP25 is very present: the 'Blue Zone' will be the space administered by the United Nations and in which the negotiation sessions of this summit will take place. Meanwhile, the 'Green Zone' will be available to all civil society and will host various activities and meetings to participate directly in the celebration of the COP.
"The 'Blue Zone' and the 'Green Zone', as well as the Social Summit for Climate -which will take place in Madrid, in parallel- have to drive the logic of collaboration and align the shared objectives to achieve the transformations that all of us involved in sustainable development seek and work to promote", says Javier Cortés, director of the United Nations Global Compact's Cities Program.
Tom Kucharz, for his part, did not hesitate to state that "there is a great disconnect between the institutional and business world because they know little or nothing about the communities that die because of climate change and do not know what the consequences the rise in temperature of the Planet between 1.5º and 2ºC could be . For example, three quarters of fossil fuels from the known reserves should remain underground if we do not want the temperature to increase by that percentage".
A Social Summit for Climate.. The #COPForFuture begins on the 6th with the demonstration of the Social Summit on Climate that will travel through Madrid from Atocha Station to the government offices at Nuevos Ministerios, and until the 13th December it will be the loudspeaker of the people for the climate beyond the COP25: "We have great hope of mobilization through the civil society and the impulse in the demands of the new organizations which have emerged such as ExtinctionRebellion or FridaysForFuture, to demand a greater commitment from governments and companies to stop the climate crisis. We believe that civil society is going to be responsible for demanding that politicians think of everyone", as José Cristóbal Ferreras, member of FridaysFor Future, states.
While Kucharz reminds us that "if we ask the local groups that are going to be present at this Social Summit for Climate, they will tell us that we have many socio-environmental conflicts such as urbanism, new infrastructures or the protection of ecosystems, despite having held 25 Climate Summits we see that we have not improved almost anything".
"Green New Deal". As the effects of climate change have become more and more apparent, the term 'Green New Deal' has begun to be coined, a new global agreement to boost the economy that in turn protects the planet.
"The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are presented to us as a great opportunity to build a new global social contract or 'Green New Deal', based on a transition to a decarbonized and supportive economy. 2015 was a boost to sustainability with the approval of 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. That is why COP25 is presented as another historic opportunity to promote sustainable development", says Javier Cortés, director of the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme, who highlights five axes of transformation: mobilised citizenship, sustainability in production models, co-creation, innovation and the comparison of data in order to make a good follow-up and be able to model.
New social contract. Access to energy is known as the first step in the development of society, but this, to which the developing countries and the poorest ones will be added, will no longer be able to rely on fossil fuels. Sara Pizzinato argues that what is needed in the first place is "a change of perspective: that energy becomes a right and not a product, and that there is access to affordable and clean energy for all".
The Renewables Foundation has prepared the report "The Social Contract of Energy: Electrify to democratize" and as Sara Pizzinato explains "we want to be a loudspeaker of the objectives that should come out of this Summit. We believe that society must get involved in the energy sector, which is the main cause of CO2 emissions, and for this reason we are promoting a new social contract. Society should not only be the one to take charge of the effects of climate change, but should be co-responsible for seeking solutions and participating in the debate, because those who have created the problem cannot be the only ones to propose the final solutions".
Climate Justice. ““We have great confidence in organized civil society to make climate justice a reality. What can we do to change the world? At the very least, we can organize and mobilize ourselves to demand that economic and institutional powers really commit themselves", says José Cristóbal Ferreras, something which is also shared by Tom Kucharz: "It is necessary to bring justice in its multiple forms to COP25: social justice, environmental justice, North-South justice, gender justice, and justice for the most affected populations".
The four participants in the meeting agreed that since the Social Summit on Climate, the different organizations, associations and NGOs that arrive in Madrid are going to keep in mind this social balance that should drive the energy transition towards a decarbonized global economy, as well as the social demands of the Chilean people and the Latin American representatives of civil society that were going to be present in Santiago de Chile, but that many will not finally be able to cross the pond.
Collaboration and Implication. All the Climate Summits are presented as fundamental for generating commitment to stop and mitigate climate change, but at this one in Madrid we all risk a lot as citizens of the world. Javier Cortés advocates “collaboratión” between governments, multilateral organizations, companies and civil society to make this just transition to a green economy because "those who are not able to generate trust are limited in their ability to develop strategies in the medium and long term".