Climate policy concerns us all! That’s why we provide you with information from the 25th UN Climate Change Conference. The Austrian youth delegates are in Madrid and make the voice of the youth heard and keep you up to date at the same time!
Here we summarize all the daily updates, in case you missed some.
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November 28th, 2019: 4 days to COP25
Welcome to our COP25 newsletter!
Thank you for your interest in climate policy!
💪 We are the team of the Austrian youth delegation in cooperation with CliMates Austria. Together we explain the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) and represent the voice of the Austrian youth in the international negotiations.
⚖ Our declaration: „Climate Justice!“
It includes youth demands from the Local Conference of Youth in Vienna, Fridays for Future, the Austrian Federal Youth Council and our online survey.
At COP we hand this declaration to Austrian politicians, business representatives and other NGOs!
➡ German: https://climatesaustria.org/gerechtes-klima-jugenddeklaration/
(We are currently working on a translation)
❓ If you have questions, you can always send us a private message. We’ll send you updates daily!
🚞 By the way: we travel climate friendly by train from Vienna to Madrid! #railtothecop
November 29th, 2019: 3 days to COP25
So you won‘t get lost in the jungle of abbreviations, we’ll explain you the most important ones.
UNFCCC (pronounced „U-N-F-tripple C)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
is an international environmental agreement of the United Nations, founded in 1992, with the aim of fighting the climate crisis. Consisting of 197 parties, located in Bonn, Germany.
Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC Process
The annual meeting of the parties and the decision-making body of the UNFCCC. The negotiations go on for 2 weeks. This year it’s happening for the 25th time, therefore COP25.
Conference of Youth
In the run-up to the COP, the youth of the world mingle in the same city and come together in working groups such as Mitigation, Gender, Oceans, Loss & Damage etc. for press conferences and the closing statement in the big plenary, where all nations are present.
Local Conference of Youth
Since not everyone can come to COY / COP, there happen LCOYs all around the world. The outputs flow into the COY. In Austria it took place for the second time in Vienna this year.
Youth NGO (Children and Youth Constituency to the UNFCCC)
It brings together children and youth NGOs as well as all young people in the process. It publishes statements on numerous topics. It organizes the COY with the help of volunteers and coordinates the LCOYs. YOUNGO has official speaking time at COP and seeks to increase the influence of our generation.
➡ other relevant abbreviations of climate policy (unfortunately mostly in German)
📅 What else happened today:
The world has gathered for the 4th climate strike (thanks a lot!), Day 1 of the COY15 is over.
November 30th, 2019: 2 days to COP25
What is being negotiated at COP25?
In 2015, the Paris Agreement answered the „What?“: the goal is to increase the warming from pre-industrial temperatures to max. 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius limit.
In 2018 the Katowice climate package decided the „How?“ for most topics. At this year’s COP25, the outstanding ones are being negotiated:
Loss and Damage
Damages caused by the climate crisis are not co-financed. Vulnerable states want a kind of insurance, covering for example infrastructure construction and relocations. Problem here is the predictability of the costs.
1. Global emissions trading (between countries): Biggest problem: already reduced emissions, by the Clean Development Mechanism, should not be double counted. Brazil is blocking the negotiations on this regard.
2. Project-based investments (between public and private investors): who pays how much for what?
3. „Non-market“ mechanisms: financial flows and knowledge exchange without trade
Gender Action Plan
The increased effects of the climate crisis on women should be recognized. Additionally the delegations should be gender balanced. Some countries, mainly in the Arab world, are blocking.
December 1st, 2019: 1 day to COP25
Tomorrow COP25 starts!
In other news:
COY came to an end
The three-day event took place at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid and brought together young people from 86 countries. Numerous working groups presented their outcomes , including on Adaptation, Mitigation, Agriculture and Action for Climate Empowerment.
At the closing ceremony, high-level speakers underlined the importance of youth:
– Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General
– Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Secretary General
– Carolina Schmidt, COP25 President and Chilean Environment Minister
„Don’t give up, be loud and relentless. We count on you to lead today for a better tomorrow!“ – A. Guterres
Some COP facts & figures
Approximately 25,000 attendees are expected. Almost 1,500 different NGOs participate in the COP, 68 of them are youth organisations, of which only 30% come from the global South. Civil society organisations applied for 21,000 accreditations, but the UNFCCC secretariat issued just under 6,000.
Tomorrow we start
Spanish President Pedro Sánchez invites heads of state or government to the High Level Opening. 30 presidents accepted the invitation, including Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen.
December 2nd, 2019: COP25 Day 1
Chile’s Environment Minister ceremonially opened the COP25 in Madrid with the slogan „Time to Act“. UN Secretary General Guterres and Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez also stressed that there is no time left to wait for emissions to be reduced. However, no specific measures or recommendations for action were mentioned.
Van der Bellen for climate justice
At a meeting with the Austrian youth, the Federal President Van der Bellen was handed the position paper „Just Climate“ with collected demands of Austrian youth NGOs. He affirmed the importance of committed young people and that the motivation of youth is transferred to his generation and gives hope to many negotiators at the COP.
„Our children will think of us. To what we have done. And what we didn’t do.„– Alexander Van der Bellen
The agenda was adopted and tomorrow the negotiations really start.
Climate Vulnerable Forum
The developing countries most affected by the climate crisis joined forces in this loose format. The chairmanship was handed over by the President of the Marshall Islands to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Today they warned of the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis for their peoples and invoked the political will to adapt. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, also said:
„Many forces in the US are committed to addressing the climate crisis with economic and environmental justice for all.“
December 3rd, 2019: COP25 Day 2
Today negotiations started on the COP25 issues. These include the Gender Action Plan, Loss & Damage, Adaptation, and market mechanisms. The negotiations take place either in plenary, in informal, in informal-informals, or as Huddle. Depending on the setting, negotiations take place with 300 people in the room or only 2-5 people in the corridor.
To avoid 193 countries taking the floor, there are negotiating groups such as the EU, the Arab Group, the Alliance of Small Island Developing States or the G77+China.
With „Action for Climate Empowerment“, the UNFCCC works to empower young people. The aim is to raise their voices about the climate crisis. Young people should also be better represented in the legislative process.
Fossil of the Day
This daily „honourable award“ is awarded by an NGO network to the states that are trying hardest to do the least in climate action. Today 3 „winners“ were selected: Japan, Brazil and Australia.
While Japan is supporting producing coal, Brazil is accusing NGOs of igniting the rainforest and Australia’s prime minister is denying the climate crisis while its country is on fire.
„Who is bad? Who is worse?
All the blame! All the shame!
Fossil of Day!“
Day 1 of COP25 incl. the interview with Austrian Federal President Van der Bellen is here:
December 4th, 2019: COP25 Day 3
The negotiations are still in the warm-up stage and the negotiators are still discussing mainly the formalities. Beside the exception of the Gender Action Plan, there is almost no new content.
Gender & Climate Change
At the COP22 parties decided to create a Gender Action Plan. This should guarantee the involvement of women in the implementation of already taken decisions and that gender mainstreaming is carried out in the UN system. An important concept is Capacity Building – women should be provided with tools that enable empowerment and self-determination.
This year the implementation will be evaluated and the need for improvement identified. The Gender Action Plan can be expected to be the most solid result from the COP.
„We need more women taking decisions for our climate!“ – Teresa Ribera, Spanish Minister of Environment
The COP is taking place in Europe for the third time in a row. Although the COP should be rotated through the global regions, so that no groups of countries are disadvantaged, it will again take place in Europe, precisely in Scotland, next year. High travel costs and obstacles to visas make the access more difficult for the Global South.
Even though the COP takes place in Madrid, the presidency is run by Chile: this means that they define the main themes and chair the conference.
Emissions Gap Report
According to this year’s Emission Gap Report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), countries must reduce their emissions by 7.6% per year (!) from 2020 in order to meet the 1.5°C target. The later we reach the peak (maximum emissions), the more we have to save per year. The pressure on the negotiating states is therefore great.
You can find news as a video is here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B5qHvuXlmnP/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
December 5th, 2019: COP25 Day 4
– Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
As a UN institution, the IPCC summarises scientific research on the climate crisis. The reports are intended to provide political decision-makers with a solid basis for science-based decisions.
„Not our job to take sides in policy debates, but we hope that in the work that we do, the debates are better informed.“ – Jim Skea, IPCC
When asked how the IPCC deals with the fact that their reports are not used in policy debates, they replied: „If some believe that this is a question of opinion, then we formulate the hypothesis that they have not understood the issue.“
🌊 Today the IPCC presented the „Ocean and Ice Report“. In this report the significant difference between the 1.5° and the 2°C target is again highlighted and is greater than expected. At 1.5°C warming, the Arctic will be ice free once per 100 years, at 2°C 10-30 times. Austria is affected by the melting of glaciers, wet snow and unstable slopes that can destroy entire villages.
As a reminder: we are currently on a 3-4°C warming path.
💪 Young and Future Generations Day
COP25 today focused on young people. Very emotional stories from all over the world were shared in numerous events. There was also a Q&A with Patricia Espinoza (UNFCCC Secretary General).
„We are not the future, we are the present. Why should we lead tomorrow, if there is no earth to take over any more.“ – Kisha Erah Muaña, Philippines
Fossil of the Day
The award goes to Russia and the US. Russia is refusing to integrate human rights and gender issues and the US is blocking financing for Loss and Damage.
Yesterday parties negotiated for half an hour in a market mechanism meeting, whether the next meeting should be called „Informal“, „Get Together“ or „Bilateral“.
December 6th, 2019: COP25 Day 5
No agreement has yet been reached, hence an additional meeting will be convened. Russia demands that human rights be removed from the text. It is likely that the issue goes to the 2nd week of the COP and the ministerial level.
Actionism at the COP
Civil society has the opportunity to draw attention to a topic at the conference with actions. They sing, dance or go on strike:
Fridays for Future held a silent sit-in strike today. Surprisingly, Greta Thunberg joined in and the participants sang together.
Sail to the COP used a „Human Train“ to draw attention to the lack of sustainable travel options.
NDC of the EU
– Nationally Determined Contributions
The current Green New Deal is a political signal of the EU and leads to more credibility in the negotiations. At COP26 in Glasgow, the NDCs are to be renewed and made more ambitious. By October 2020 at the latest, the EU must therefore increase its ambitions. Austria has no climate goal of its own – the EU has a common climate target within the framework of the COP and divides it internally within the framework of „effort sharing“.
December 7th, 2019: COP25 Day 6 – Halftime!
The first week of negotiations is over. The high level segment will start on Monday: All topics that could not be concluded until today, but should still be decided at the COP, will be negotiated by ministers. If they cannot reach an agreement, it will be postponed to the next COP, to Glasgow.
Developed countries are regularly reviewed to see whether they meet the 2020 climate targets and what challenges exist at national level. This year, Austria, among others, presented that emissions are higher than the path set by the EU. However, the average counts and thus ambitious future savings can be „credited“ now. According to the assessment, Austria has problems with transport, which accounts for more than 30% of emissions.
Other countries included Belgium, New Zealand and Cyprus.
Badges and participants
Badges at the COP are like tickets that are checked at the entrances and allow access to various negotiations and zones. Colours indicate the affiliation.
PINK: Party (overflow) – delegation of the country, overflow are state or internal representatives
BLUE: UN Staff/Secretariat – UN Employees
YELLOW: Observers – NGOs and Scienctists
ORANGE: Press – Media
GRAY: Technical staff – important for everything to work well, e.g. baristas and cleaning staff
RED: Head of Delegation – also important
#FunFact CAN Party
Every year at the end of the first week there is a big party organized by the NGO Climate Action Network „CAN“. Negotiators are also invited, the most important information is exchanged and „informal“ negotiations continue. 😀
December 9th, 2019: COP25 Day 7
The second week has started!
Gender Action Plan
The GAP should be revised and renewed at the this year’s COP. Five priorities were formulated. Predefined goals and activities should take gender in UNFCCC processes into account. Actually the most solid results were expected. But one issue was the recognition of human rights in the introduction of the document: the Arab and the African group blocked. Currently it is still unclear whether the open points are moving to the high-level political segment of the COP or whether the process will be postponed to the interim conference in June.
Loss & Damage
Under L&D the parties negotiated a text with three options:
a) proposal by the developing countries
b) proposal by the developed countries
c) a compromise between the two.
All parties asked for more time to discuss technical issues before submitting the text to the ministers. Because as soon as that happens, the negotiators don‘t have any influence anymore. As usual, finance is one of the points where the parties disagree.
Beginning of the high-level
The high-level segment begins and ministers are arriving tomorrow. Until then, the negotiators are still trying to generate an outcome under pressure. Each country holds an opening speech in the plenary, for a maximum of 3 minutes. Normally, countries speaking in the alphabetical order. The Chilean COP presidency this year lets island states speak first – hoping to increase the pressure on the topic ‚oceans‘
➡️ What Article 6 has to do with indigenous peoples has been explained in a moving video:
December 10th, 2019: COP25 Day 8
High Level Segment
The opening lasted almost for four hours. The Austrian Minister for Sustainability, Maria Patek, spoke on behalf of Austria: „Climate Action is the main priority for the Austrian government. We adapted an ambitious climate and energy strategy in 2018 and Austria is a front runner with regard to renewable energies.“
Today’s „star speaker of the COP“ was the former US-Vice President Al Gore. Already in 2006 he raised attention with his famous slide show and the film „An Inconvenient Truth“. With a flaming speech and relatable pictures he shows where we are standing and where the solutions lie. At the end of his speech, he emphasized the role and right of young people to raise their voices for ambitious climate policy, „because they are god damn right!
„Not to act is criminal.“ – Al Gore
Today is Human Rights Day!
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948. Since 2012 there has been a seperate UN Rapporteur on human rights and the environment. There is evidence, that in some places the right to clean air and clean water has been violated. In addition, the climate crisis affects many other rights, such as the right to life and the right to sustainable development. Some states are still refusing human rights to be included in the COP25 texts.
Climate Change Performance Index
The NGO Germanwatch and its partners publish the climate index every year. It considers the share of renewable energies, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and implemented climate policies. 🇸🇪, 🇩🇰, 🇬🇧, 🇲🇦 are the best rated countries. Austria is placed 38th, out of 57. USA and Saudi Arabia are the worst rated.
December 11th, 2019: COP25 Day 9
Green New Deal
The new EU Commission will publish its climate strategy tomorrow as a political signal for more ambitious climate policies. In addition to concrete measures, the Commission has set two ambitious targets: 50-55 % emission reduction by 2030 and CO2 neutrality by 2050. It is also obvious that the deal is the new green growth strategy of the EU. Greenpeace criticises conflicts of interest and that the targets are not sufficient to achieve Paris goals.
Actions at the COP
Demonstrations and other protests are called „actions“ at the COP. These are allowed as long as they are registered in advance. Today an action organised by the international NGO network CAN took place. It addressed the weak result of the ongoing negotiations and called out the urgency for ambitious climate policies. Despite the rejection by the organisers, the protest was still carried out. More than 300 people took part, and about 200 were pushed outside by security guards after a short time. They had to stand in the cold for more than two hours and no NGO members were allowed to enter the conference for the rest of the day. Many complain about a shrinking civil society space.
COP over the weekend
Although the COP lasts 2 weeks, it will probably not end on Friday. Observers say the negotiations will at least continue until Saturday.
Human rights are a point of controversy in several COP negotiations. Many countries fear that a recognition of human rights would result in economic disadvantages for them. If human rights will be an integral part of the emission certificates negotiated under Article 6, no money would be distributed to projects, violating land and indigenous rights. Many countries in the Middle East, but also Brazil and the USA, want as little foreign involvement as possible in „internal affairs“.