This afternoon, there was a plenary where countries were all given a chance to weigh in on draft language for the agreements they’re working to make at COP25.
The COP President Carolina Schmidt, Minister of Environment of Chile, opened the meeting with a call to find a way to come to an agreement before leaving Madrid, saying, “Now is the time we must show the world that we are capable of getting to agreement.” She then invited country representatives to give initial responses to the new language that had been developed over the last 24 hours.
However, based on the comments shared by countries who spoke up, agreement was still a long way off. Acknowledging as well that three countries (U.S., Brazil, and Australia) have been identified as obstructing this process and of those only Brazil provided any comment, there’s uncertainty about what the next steps will look like or what they’ll produce.
While some are suggesting we wait until COP26, others are recognizing that we can’t wait until next year. In the plenary, the representative from Marshall Islands noted that just as COP25 was about to begin, over 200 people had to be evacuated from their homes due to flooding from rising waters. She and other representatives used their time to call for increased ambition and appropriate and equitable resolution of the financing and support issues.
This morning, I heard a fellow Observer from the U.S. remark about how all these Parties gathered here and had “two weeks wasted”. A conversation with another from Nigeria noted that “The time for talk is over—all we did was talk. The time for action IS now. So let’s act.” There really is a sour taste in the mouths of many as COP25 wraps up.
It’s important to remember that COP25 isn’t the end for climate action.
It was a pivotal moment, but it is also just another stop on a long road that has been walked for a long time and will continue for a long time going forward. Just because COP25 seems like it won’t reach agreement by the time it officially closes, that doesn’t mean that the failure is the final word on climate change.
The people who feel like this COP is a victory want you to feel despair, to throw in the towel. Don’t.
There are things we can all do locally and at regional scales to reduce emissions, build resilience, build political will, and support others at home and worldwide in the work ahead.
In this very moment as I finish writing this, a chant led by youth and indigenous peoples is breaking out to my left: “We are unstoppable. Another world is possible.” This morning, the song that echoed through the halls of the building was “Power to the People.”
Between the two, I can’t think of a better way to sign off of this blog.