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Everything that has been agreed upon (and what is not) in the climate summit in Madrid

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The text that has finally been approved establishes “to be more ambitious” from 2020 and to fulfil what was agreed in Paris, but leaves many questions

The climate summit has managed to close a document this Sunday to increase climate ambition in 2020 and comply with the Paris Agreement, which commits countries to prevent the average temperature of the planet from rising above 1.5 degrees.

The agreement, entitled ‘Chile-Madrid, time to act’, has been achieved almost two days after the day scheduled for the closure of COP25 and after marathon negotiations that have lasted throughout the early morning. The document has been approved by COP25 President, Chilean Carolina Schmidt, after a tense debate with Brazil, which initially did not accept two paragraphs included in the agreement on oceans and land use.

2020 climate plans

The text, which arrived very weak last night, managed to be redirected with the help ‘in extremis’ of Teresa Ribera, to whom the Chilean presidency asked for help to strengthen the language of the statements a bit. The approved text has a greater focus on urgency, which aims directly to reduce emissions.

The final decision of COP25 “underlines the urgency of greater ambition to ensure the greatest possible mitigation and adaptation efforts of all parties.” Despite this, the text is generally quite redundant: there is no clear statement that encourages different countries to present improved climate plans in 2020.

Carbon markets

In one of the most important parts, negotiators failed to reach an agreement. In the last hours of the negotiations, more than 30 countries joined in an effort to preserve the integrity of the rules in the carbon market and avoid both ‘legal loopholes’ that allowed them not to reduce emissions and the possibility of counting twice the credits.

Loss and damage

This was one of the few aspects where COP25 has saved furniture. The so-called Santiago Network was established to lead work on implementation or to help vulnerable countries to minimize, avoid and recover from the losses and damages caused by climate change. However, the final text is weaker than the versions that circulated the previous days.

In terms of financing, the text “urges” developed countries to be able to do so, but only invites (never obliges) the Board of Directors of the Green Climate Fund to continue providing resources for losses and damages. Other debates such as governance have been postponed until 2020.

Oceans and Earth

Although Brazil tried until the end of eliminating these two points from the agenda, a new work will finally begin within the UN framework on the ocean and climate change to study how to strengthen mitigation and adaptation measures in this context, as well as on issues related to adaptation in relation to Earth and climate change.

The meagre result of this summit leaves COP26 hosts, United Kingdom and Italy, with a heavy burden to motivate the main emitting countries in 2020 to reduce their emissions, as science currently available demands. On the positive side, there is the ‘green new deal ‘ agreed by the European Union and the new commitment of zero net emissions by 2050, as well as more than 70 countries (out of 197) committed to improving their climate plans during 2020.

However, London and Rome will have to deploy their entire diplomatic, economic and financial arsenal to get the world back on track in 2020. The focus will also be on the European Union-China summit, which will be held in Leipzig next September, in the that Brussels and Beijing could jointly present their climate plans for 2020.

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