COP25 – Update from Paul Allen

COP25 – Update from Paul Allen


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CAT Zero Carbon Britain Coordinator Paul Allen is at the UN climate talks (COP25) in Madrid this week, discussing climate solutions. Here, he tells us what has happened since his last update.

In the past 24 hours

Almost all countries at COP25 are now saying “listen to the kids” or “we need ambition” – but the key trick is to analyse their national commitments and discover if their numbers and deadlines really reflect this. Last night I feel the EU joined the genuinely ambitious.

After marathon talks in Brussels, EU leaders agreed a ‘net-zero by 2050’ carbon neutrality deal, with the exception of coal-reliant Poland. Their ambitious target is part of a plan to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent.  It was announced during COP25 to help encourage other areas of the world to raise their bar and work up an offering which can deliver on the Paris Agreement. EU Council President Charles Michel said “We have reached an agreement on climate change, it is very important, it was crucial, for Europe to show strong ambition”.

In the next 24 hours

In order to really understand what needs to happen in the final 24 hours of COP25, I have taken a little time to visit my favourite ‘finding places’ at any COP – the German and Nordic pavilions.

As part of the process of ‘Nordic transparency’ Mattias Frumerie Sweden’s chief negotiator offered a 15-minute overview of what needs to happen next. Basically, there needs to be clarity and resolution to ‘Article 6’ the last part of the 2015 Paris rulebook, to ensure there is no double counting of emissions reduction, and to build in global equity. There also needs to be progress in what is called the COP25 Loss & Damage review. This is critical to ensure that we tangibly respond to climate impacts in the real world, largely caused by emissions from the long industrialised nations, and support those most affected in vulnerable developing countries. Unless the aim is to distract COP26, Glasgow MUST focus on raising the bar on commitment to actual action, and must not be distracted by on-going rulebook negotiations that should have been agreed long ago!

In the next 6 hours

To help raise ambition as the COP reaches its finale, I now aim to complete my tour of all the country pavilions, to share Zero Carbon Britain’s research to help them grasp what an end-point net zero model can offer in terms of enabling citizens of that country to envisage what success would look like, and to engage everyone from business to youth in the conversations needed to make it happen! I will also share CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain in an official COP25 side-event hosted by the International Network for Sustainable Energy.