What on earth is, or isn’t happening at COP25?

What on earth is, or isn’t happening at COP25?


Home » What on earth is, or isn’t happening at COP25?

CAT Zero Carbon Britain Coordinator Paul Allen is at the UN climate talks (COP25) in Madrid this week, discussing climate solutions. Here, he shares his thoughts on the process so far.

As the second week of the UN climate talks open in Madrid, things are happening on many different levels. The key required outcome for the official UNFCCC negotiations process is to settle the details of the ‘Paris Accord’, so we can focus on the vital process of raising ambition at COP26 in Glasgow next year.

The challenge is called ‘Article 6’. It is the last section of the Paris accord rulebook which remains unresolved and it has the potential to make or break efforts to curb emissions. Most elements were completed at the international climate negotiations, COP24, last year. However, in light of some remaining disagreements, the rules for Article 6 were deferred to this year’s COP25. Article 6 is the section of the Paris Agreement that sets the ground rules for international emissions trading. It has two key parts:

  • Article 6, Section 6.2 sets the rulebook for government-to-government trading, so one country could meet its carbon reduction target in part by paying another country to make additional reductions beyond its target.
  • Article 6, Section 6.4 offers a mechanism for the private sector to earn and sell emissions reduction credits.

If negotiations go well, Article 6 could inspire countries to increase the ambition of their national targets – the urgency of which was made very clear in this year’s UN emissions gap report – click here to learn more

But if things don’t go well, weak rules for Article 6 could allow illegitimate reductions that merely give the illusion of progress. Which vision will prevail must be resolved in the days to come. If an agreement cannot be found, the issue will be kicked further down the road to distract COP26 from its vital role of agreeing higher ambition.

But as this process unfolds, some countries are rising to the climate challenge and showing real leadership. The Danish Parliament announced a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent by 2030 (compared to the 1990 level). This raises the Danish ambitions and encourages other countries to follow suit – click here to learn more

As part of the International Network for Sustainable Energy, I am sharing CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research with delegates and with country pavilions to help show we have all the technologies we need to raise ambition. But in addition, as with every COP summit, an amazing number of solutions experts are converging to share newly emerging ideas – so I am also seeking to make new contacts and to find new solutions to share.

Paul Allen COP25